The Islamabad district health administration has set up five more coronavirus vaccination centres in the federal capital, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
According to District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Zaeem Zia, the vaccination centres have been set up at Community Health Centre (CHC) Shah Allah Ditta, Basic Health Units (BHU) of Humak, Jagiot, Rawat, and Bhukkar. He said that the purpose of setting up new centres was to provide vaccination to citizens at their doorsteps.
Moreover, the federal authorities have decided to continue double shifts at Covid vaccination centres after Eidul Fitr from 8am till 8pm. The decision was taken in view of hot weather as it could cause difficulties to the citizens to arrive at the centres.
The double shifts will facilitate citizens to get Covid-19 jabs in the evening hours besides expediting the vaccination process. Earlier in the day, NCOC Head Asad Umar announced that citizens aged 40 and above can walk into any vaccination centre from Wednesday (today) to get anti-Covid jabs.
Taking to Twitter, the planning and development minister said starting from May 12, all 40 plus who have registered will be able to walk into any vaccination centre of their choice to get vaccinated. He added that all vaccination centres are open and will only be closing on the first two days of Eidul Fitr.
Pakistan has received nearly 12 million doses of coronavirus vaccine so far while one million more doses of Sinovac vaccine had arrived from China on board a special plane of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on May 9.
Meanwhile, it must be noted that the coronavirus vaccination centres in Rawalpindi will remain closed on the first two days of Eidul Fitr and resume operations from the third day on Sunday.
A day ago, District Health Authority (DHA) officials said that 164,389 people have been administered the vaccine in Rawalpindi so far. Among them, 145,961 were citizens while 18,961 were frontline workers. They said that a review of the increasing rate of infected patients confirmed that the majority of them were people aged 60 and above, having chronic ailments such as diabetes, blood pressure, asthma etc.
Furthermore, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said that 182 cases of coronavirus were reported from the federal capital in a span of 24 hours.
According to an official, as many as 226 cases were reported on Monday while 290 cases were reported on Sunday. He said so far 78,382 cases while 716 deaths have been reported from the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), adding that 67,433 patients have recovered from the infection so far.
Commenting on the present situation across the country, an official of the Ministry of National Health Services said that the government had taken appropriate measures and tightened restrictions to curb the Covid disease as the virus continued to spread in the country.
He said the government was closely monitoring the third wave and it may enforce lockdown in more areas if other interventions did not work in the next few days. He added that the prime minister had also engaged the armed forces to ensure that standard operating procedures (SOPs) were being followed in locked-down areas with a high positivity rate.
He said the NCOC had access to data from all districts and reviewed it on a daily basis. Its decisions are based on the spread of the virus, the success of SOP enforcement, and the capacity of the healthcare system, he added.
Moreover, the Islamabad police arrested 26 people the other day after sealing a snooker club for violating lockdown orders issued by the local administration to contain further spread of coronavirus ahead of Eidul Fitr holidays.
Following the orders, magistrate Sohail Abbas Bhatti, SDPO (Margalla) Malik Bashir, and SHO Karachi Company Muhammad Asif, arrested 26 people present at the snooker club and sealed the premises. A case has been registered against the nabbed individuals while further investigation is underway. The police also held 4 beggars and four suspects during a search operation in the area.
Awareness campaign in Abbottabad
Furthermore, the Abbottabad Deputy District Health Officer (DDHO) stated that following the anti-Covid SOPs issued by the NCOC is the only way to protect precious human lives, maintaining that the third wave of coronavirus is devastating and has hit Pakistan hard as a result of this hundreds of people have lost their lives during the outbreak.
The DDHO further said that the health department with the cooperation of the district administration and police has launched a massive awareness campaign in the Abbottabad district about the threat of coronavirus and the importance of following the SOPs.
He stated that during the campaign, people were encouraged to wash hands frequently, use antiseptics to clean household items, wear masks in public places, avoid meeting people with colds and coughs, observe the physical distance, avoid crowded places, and stay home as much as possible.
The DDHO said that besides the campaign, NCOC's SOPs propagation on social media and mainstream TV channels also played a vital role in awakening people and fighting against the Covid, a threat that is more lethal than ever before. The campaigns have helped dispel misinformation while promoting health recommendations and medical guidelines set by the NCOC, he added.
The official further disclosed that after the launch of the awareness drive particularly during the Eid vacations, it has been observed that the use of face mask has increased, which is key in fighting against the deadly infection.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2021.