COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan recorded over 3,000 coronavirus cases in a day for the first time since December 18 last, as 3,097 fresh cases of the coronavirus were reported across the country during the last twenty-four hours, pushing the national tally of infections to 511,921.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said on Thursday that a total of 41,574 samples were tested, out of which 3,097 turned out to be positive. The case positivity rate jumped to 7.45 percent in the past 24 hours. The coronavirus claimed 46 more lives over the past 24 hours, lifting the countrywide death toll to 10,818.
There are a total of 33,869 active COVID-19 cases as 2,284 patients recovered on Wednesday, taking the number of recovered patients to 467,234.
So far, Sindh has reported 230,718 cases, Punjab 147,292, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 62,377, Balochistan 18,488, Islamabad 39,624, Azad Jammu and Kashmir 8,540 and Gilgit Baltistan 4,882.
Over 29,743 cases have been reported across the country since the beginning of the new year while 642 people have died. Last month, December 2020, the NCOC reported 80,796 infections.
Pakistan is currently in the grip of a second wave of infections with a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus, first identified in the United Kingdom, detected in Sindh.
The federal government has already made face masks mandatory in public spaces, limited large public gatherings to 300, banned indoor weddings, closed shrines, cinemas, and theatres, and instructed public and private offices to adopt a work-from-home policy and 50% occupancy.
Furthermore, all provinces have banned indoor dining and limited timings for markets, shops, and shopping malls. Many areas in the country have been placed under smart lockdowns.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has sought approval for its vaccine from Pakistan and has applied for registration to the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) through a Pakistani pharmaceutical company.
The pharma company has submitted data of the clinical trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the DRAP. The DRAP registration board is expected to register AstraZeneca vaccine in its ongoing session, according to sources. The registration board will remain in session until January 15, according to the sources at the Ministry of National Health.
AstraZeneca has been a British-Sweden joint multinational pharmaceutical company, which has produced the vaccine in collaboration with the Oxford University. The vaccine, approved by the British Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority, is said to be effective for people of all age groups and could be stored in home refrigerators.
The DRAP registration board in its current session will also likely approve registration of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.
Sinopharm has recently sought permission from Pakistan for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
Pakistan has announced to buy 1.2 million doses of the corona vaccine from Sinopharm, a state-run Chinese firm, which is developing two COVID-19 vaccines. – TLTP