Corona climbing again

Pakistan has disclosed approximately 2,258 cases in the past 24 hours, indicating the first time the country has reported over 2,000 infections since January 29, when 2,186 cases were registered. Nearly 42, 164 tests were conducted on March 10, which turns into a positivity rate of 5.3 percent, while the total number of active cases in the country is 17,627 as of March 11. Meantime Punjab has shown about 1,290 coronavirus cases and 33 deaths during the last 24 hours. The big total has risen to approximately 180,944 and the death toll is 5,662. This is the second direct day the province has reported more than 1,000 coronavirus cases. A day earlier, Punjab recorded 1,006 cases and 29 deaths. Some parts of the province were reporting the British variant of the Covid-19 virus which was more epidemic. Therefore that the British strain is resulting a rise in cases. Punjab administration urged citizens over the age of 60 to register themselves for the Covid-19 vaccine. Punjab government’s hospitals were reporting a frightening situation because of the increasing number of the Covid-19 patients. The government, in view of the declining trend of Covid-19 cases prevailing in the country, had earlier relaxed a number of restrictions on commercial activities and official work on February 24.Under the new directives, time limit on commercial activities had been lifted and condition of 50 per cent attendance at workplaces was removed with immediate effect. However, expressing worry over the government’s decision to relax Covid-19 related restrictions, the Pakistan Medical Association had on March 4 warned that the coronavirus situation may deteriorate in the country as the vaccination campaign was moving at a slow speed. It suggested that the restrictions should not be lifted till 70 per cent of the country’s population was vaccinated against coronavirus.
Rising cases of COVID-19 and a frightening increase in the overall positivity ratio prompted the government on Wednesday to announce spring holidays in all educational institutions of Islamabad, seven main cities of Punjab, and Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The two-week spring break will commence from March 15 and continue till March 28. This order, nevertheless will not apply to institutions and students taking send-up examinations. There will be no postponement of send-up exams. The past decision of permitting indoor weddings, indoor dining, and opening of cinemas and shrines with effect from March 15 also were withdrawn. The alternative of outdoor dining and take-away will remain allowable, outdoor gatherings will continue to remain restricted to a maximum of 300 individuals, with stern enforcement of COVID-19 SOPs. All decisions will be reviewed on April 12.The outline was prepared to announce main decisions affecting the education and health sectors in subsequent to worst scenario compared with the COVID-19 disease design. The decisions were taken at a review meeting convened by the National Command and Operations Centre. All educational institutions in Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Lahore, Gujarat, Multan, Sialkot, and Rawalpindi in Punjab; Peshawar in KP; and Islamabad will be closed for spring holidays from March 15 to28. The order will be applicable to all institutions like schools, colleges, or universities. Educational institutions in all other cities and districts across various provinces will continue with 50 percent attendance; however, the provincial governments will from time to time review the situation, and will exercise their consideration to close an institution, should the environment so demand. The COVID-19 situation in Sindh, Balochistan, and Gilgit-Baltistan being good, making about 50 percent attendance allowable in these provinces, with stern adherence to social distancing, wearing of masks, and observance of other required Standard Operating Procedure. Administrations of educational institutions are to observe and monitor their students, and to inform the authorities in case of finding cases. Measures for Muzaffarabad will also be announced soon. The high command will continue to examine the situation over the other two weeks. Strict obedience instructions relating to use of masks and social distancing will continue as a result of the current disease pattern and rising positivity ratio. All administrative institutions in the provinces have been strictly advised to promulgate smart lock downs and micro smart lockdowns, subject to disease troubleshot in their areas. All commercial activities except essential services pharmacies will be closed by 10 pm and all amusement parks will close by 6 pm. Every province is, however, to exercise judicially, depending on its odd situation. Vaccination of senior citizens has started. All citizens above 60 years of age are to send their NIC numbers for information about the centre they should visit for vaccination. The citizens are also free to choose a centre of their choice, in case it is not bothersome for them to visit the centre communicated to them via text message. Canters have been before allocated only to avoid public inconvenience and to guarantee availability of sufficient doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. A special cabinet committee decided to before book about 1.1 million doses of vaccine from a Chinese state-owned company ‘Sinopharm’. The preference was made on the day when Sinopharm announced that its Covid-19 vaccine was 79.34 per cent effective, is accidental upon emergency use acceptance by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan. Beforehand approved and purchased, the government will provide free-of-cost Covid-19 vaccine for all field health workers in the first quarter of 2021.While two doses will be given to each individual, vaccine will be given to 500,000 persons with a surplus of 10 percent spoilage of vaccine. In second stage, vaccine will be purchased for the citizens above 65 years of age. It is believed that by the beginning of the second phase vaccine from a number of other companies would also be available. It was decided in the meeting that other manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccine would continue to be for future bookings for the rest stages of vaccination, based on increase data and availability. The committee emphasized that the private sector would also be encouraged to approach Drap and follow the laid down procedures for emergency use authorization of any available and safe Covid-19 vaccine. The government is in close cooperation with well known Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers for its early and easy availability in Pakistan.

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