In a tweet on Sunday, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that positive cases that had remained below two per cent for the last six weeks had now surpassed the limit.
“That is why mini smart lockdowns have been enforced in Karachi, Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover district administrations have been directed to ensure precautionary measures,” he said, adding that it was impossible to control the virus without the cooperation of people.
An official of the Ministry of National Health Services said they were hopeful the vaccine prepared by China and approved for phase-III trials in Pakistan would be available in the next six months, emphasizing on vaccine’s antibody producing ability against spike proteins.
“At present, 15 vaccines were in phase-III trial globally out of which 11 target the spike protein,” he said.
He also said the vaccine might not be effective for life and an energy booster would be required every year.
The official told the University of Health Sciences (UHS) had been collaborating with Oxford University on a vaccine but UK varsity sold the patent as well as the research to an India-based company.
“India announced a policy under which it will produce a vaccine for its one billion population before selling it to any other country,” the official said.
Parliamentary Secretary National Health Services Regulations and Coordination Nausheen Hamid on Sunday said over 10,000 people would be asked to volunteer to take part in COVID-19 vaccine trials in Pakistan, thus helping to speed up efforts to discover a safe and effective vaccine.
The third phase vaccine trials are free of charge for any citizen living in the country, she announced while talking to Pakistan Television (PTV).
She further said getting 10,000 volunteers on board is a great start but we need many more people from many different backgrounds that we can call on for future studies.
Hamid also urged the nation to wear face masks in public to avoid a spike in coronavirus infections, saying there were concerns that the “onset of winter” could result in a second wave.
She revealed that Pakistan is rapidly increasing its capacity to strengthen the health sector to cope with the coronavirus pandemic by setting up 150 new labs, manufacturing local ventilators, testing kits and protective kits.