The coronavirus positivity rate came down to pre-third wave levels, while the single-day tally of new cases fell below the 2,000 mark for the second time this week, according the daily update of the pandemic issued by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Friday.
The NCOC, which serves as the unified government strategy against to contain the spread of Covid-19, report 1,893 new infections during the past 24 hours, pushing the country’s caseload of the pandemic to 928,588. The positivity rate during the past 24 hours remained at 3.58%, it added.
The positivity rate on Friday is the lowest since February 28, when it was 3.02%. The positivity rate is an important indicator of the spread of the disease, according to experts. The rate is the percentage of the actual positive cases appearing in every 100 tests performed to identify infected individuals.
Against 1,893 new Covid-19 cases, the NCOC update said, 3,431 people recovered from the disease during the last 24 hours, which further reduced the number of active cases to 51,478. Also the number of patients in hospitals also fell to 3,846, including 3,557 of them in critical condition.
There are 430 patients on ventilators. The maximum ventilators occupancy was recorded in Multan, 62%, followed 36% in Bahawalpur and 31% in Peshawar and Lahore. The maximum Oxygen beds occupied Abbottabad, 35%, Bahawalpur 33%, Karachi 35% and Multan 37%.
During the past 24 hours, 83 patients, of them 74 under treatment in various hospitals, including 34 on ventilators, died, raising the nationwide death toll to 21,105. Most of the deaths on Thursday, 52, occurred in Punjab followed by 14 in Sindh and 12 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Coronavirus first emerged in the country in February 2020, which started ebbing in July after seeing its peak on June 17, with more than 6,800 cases were recorded in a single day. The cases rose again towards the end of the year, dubbed by experts as the second wave.
The cases surged again in the first week of March, described by NCOC head and Planning Minister Asad Umar as the third wave. For most part of April the single-day tally of the disease stayed above 5,000 along with a daily death toll of more than 100.
The cases started to decline last month. For 12 days the average single-day tally has come down to 2,114, 36% of the peak in June last year. According to a Reuters estimates, here are six infections per 100,000 people during the last 7 days.
So far 8.5 million doses of Covid vaccines had been administered. During last week, the authorities averaged about 237,214 doses administered each day. The government has spent $250 million on the procurement of the vaccine doses.
To boost the vaccination campaign, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has started producing the single-dose Chinese CanSinoBio vaccine. Branded PakVac, the NIH will deliver 3 million doses a month, with an initial batch of 118,000 doses delivered on Friday.
“This is a co-production along with CanSino in Pakistan,” Prof Aamer Ikram, the NIH’s Executive Director, told Reuters. Ikram said the Chinese firm was supplying a vaccine concentrate which the plant then formulated, processed and packaged.
To facilitate the vaccine production, CanSinBio has transferred some of its production technology to Pakistan and is supervising operations. “We’ve acquired technology and expertise to ensure quality control,” he added. Officials said PakVac would save around 25% on vaccine cost.
Pakistan has so far relied heavily on China in vaccine procurement and of the six vaccines approved for use in the country, three – Sinopharm, SinoVac and CanSinoBio – are from the time-tested ally. The government says it has procured over 18 million vaccine doses from China and GAVI Alliance.
(WITH INPUT FROM AGENCIES)