Asad Umar calls to accelerate vaccine drive

The Pakistan government has no intentions of imposing a coronavirus lockdown immediately, National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) chief Asad Umar said on Thursday, despite the country recording a rapid surge in infections during the last two weeks.

“For now, we are closely monitoring the numbers from Pakistan and across the globe; we are emphasising on vaccinations,” the federal minister for planning, development, and special initiatives said.

He said that instead of lockdowns, the government is focusing on ramping up vaccinations and strict implementation of the bans placed earlier on certain activities if one is not vaccinated. 

OMICRON CASES: Coronavirus cases of the Omicron variant are rising in Karachi because of a lack of vaccinations, Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU) Acting Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Shahid Rasul said on Thursday.

He said a majority of the COVID-19 cases in Karachi are of the Omicron variant, with the Sindh Health Department’s statistics showing that the city’s positivity ratio reached 9.23% in the last 24 hours.

“Not only Omicron, but Delta variant is also spreading […] and unfortunately, the vaccination ratio in Karachi stands at 40 percent,” Dr Rasul lamented.

He spoke about the sudden rise in cases over the last week and highlighted that lockdowns are dependent on the positivity ratio. If the positivity ratio continues to move up, the government will have to impose restrictions, he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s coronavirus positivity ratio went past 2 percent in a single day for the first time since October 14 last year, as 1,085 new infections were reported during the last 24 hours, official data on Thursday showed.


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