Pakistan logs over 1,500 fresh cases amidst Omicron spread

Positivity ratio surges to more than 3 pc, situation worsens in Sindh

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Pakistan on Sunday reported more than 1,500 fresh cases of COVID-19 for the first time since October 3, as the country continues to battle the fifth wave of the pandemic.

As per the latest statistics of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), 1,572 people tested positive for the coronavirus after 49,658 tests were conducted across the county during the last 24 hours. This brought the positivity rate to 3.16 percent.

A day earlier, the Sindh government had warned of resorting to ‘stringent measures’ if people continued to defy standard operating procedures (SOPs) in Karachi where the positivity rate of COVID-19 was continuously on the rise due to the spread of the Omicron variant.

“Positivity of COVID-19 cases is alarmingly on the rise in Karachi where it touched 11.72 percent. Fortunately, hospitalisation is not rising and currently only 18 patients are in the ICUs and HDUs,” Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Qasim had said.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said in a statement that 928 new cases emerged when 14,012 tests were conducted, but luckily no death was reported in the province.

He said the detection rate stood at 6.6 percent, and added that 7,256,330 tests had so far been conducted, against which 486,350 cases were diagnosed. He also said that 96.4 percent, or 468,826, of the total patients had recovered, including 161 overnight.

The CM said that currently 9,843 patients were under treatment, while 9,574 of them were in home isolation, 120 at isolation centres and 149 at different hospitals. He said that the condition of 142 patients was stated to be critical, including 11 of those who had been shifted to ventilators. Sharing vaccination data, the CM said that 30,470,881 vaccinations had been administered up to January 7, adding that during the last 24 hours 147,163 were inoculated. Likewise, the positivity ratio continued to rise in Rawalpindi, as 36 more patients were tested positive for the fatal virus during the last 24 hours.

District Health Authority Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Faiza Kanwal told the state-run news agency that the ratio of positive cases was 0.64 percent on December 26, which had significantly risen to 1.98 percent on January 9.

She said that to control this emerging situation, the health authority had recommended imposing smart lockdown in those areas from where 3 to 4 COVID-19 cases were being reported at a time. The CEO informed the ratio of positive cases was 8.8 percent during the second wave of the pandemic and 10.15 percent in the third wave.