The COVID-19 cases in Pakistan are rising with every passing day with 641 fresh infections recorded in the last 24 hours, National Institute of Health, Islamabad’s (NIH) data showed on Thursday morning.

This is the highest number of cases since March 13, 2022.

According to the NIH, the new cases were detected after diagnostic testing on 18,813 samples.

However, a slight drop was recorded in the COVID-19 positivity ratio as compared to the previous day. The current positivity ratio stands at 3.41%.

The NIH data showed that 119 patients are currently being treated in intensive-care units at different medical facilities across the country, whereas two deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

SOPs: Meanwhile, Federal Minister for National Health Services and Regulations Abdul Qadir Patel on Wednesday urged the people to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) including wearing masks in public places and observing social distancing.

The minister was speaking at a press conference, flanked by Executive Director National Institute of Health (NIH) Major General Aamer Ikram.

The minister said the positivity ratio of coronavirus had reached 3.5 percent in some cities but there was no need to be afraid as the government was closely monitoring the situation and taking measures to prevent the spread.

The minister said that in some parts of the country such as Peshawar, Karachi, and Mardan, coronavirus cases were increasing, adding the government had decided to increase the COVID-19 tests across the country.

“However, we have to be careful as minor increase in positivity ratio can become a big tragedy,” he said, adding the intensity of the Covid had decreased but the menace had not yet been eliminated completely.

The chances of coronavirus spread are high as by-elections will be held on July 17, religious festival Eidul Azha will be celebrated on July 10 followed by Muharram gatherings.

Responding to a question regarding corruption in corona funds by the officials of the former government led by Imran Khan, the minister said his ministry was trying to find solid proof and would not indulge in verbal attacks.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was being requested to ensure adherence to the SOPs during election campaigns, he added.

Patel urged the media to help the government in launching awareness campaign for wearing face masks, maintaining social distance, and using sanitizers to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

The government has already made wearing of mask in public transport, planes, and railways mandatory.

The government has directed all chief secretaries to initiate Covid testing of the people to ascertain the actual situation regarding the deadly virus’s spread. He expressed satisfaction that 85 percent plus population was already vaccinated. While over one million booster shots were being administered to people in the country on a daily basis.

Arrangements have been finalised to vaccinate children aged five to 12 years in the next one to two months. As many as 6.8 million Pfizer dozes are being arranged for administering to children upto 12 years.

Talking about polio vaccination drive across the country, the minister said that poliovirus elements had been detected in all the 86 districts of Pakistan. He said the government was making all-out efforts to provide foolproof security to polio vaccination teams.

The NIH chief speaking on the occasion said the NCOC was monitoring the situation very closely on a daily basis.

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