Sindh lockdown to be lifted on 9th: NCOC
95 coronavirus deaths reported in country in 24 hours
The National Command and Operation Centre on Covid-19 on Saturday announced that the lockdown announced by the Sindh government in the province would be lifted from August 9 as the country recorded 95 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours — the highest since May 20 when 102 were reported.
In a joint session held in Karachi, it was also decided that non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) issued by the NCOC for the top 13 cities with high disease prevalence, including Karachi and Hyderabad, would be enforced.
"The disease situation in Sindh, particularly in Karachi, was discussed at length. The need for better coordination and enhanced interaction at all levels was emphasised," a statement issued after the session read.
Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan and other officials attended the session.
The forum also lauded Sindh's vaccination efforts. It was decided that reopening of schools and conducting remaining exams would be discussed at the next Inter-Provincial Education Ministerial Conference.
"Special emphasis was laid on the implementation of SOPs/NPIs, especially in the wake of Muharram and lifting of the lockdown from August 9 onwards. Smart Lockdowns in high disease prevalence areas will also be enforced to curtail disease spread," the statement added.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah told the participants of the meeting that the number of active Covid-19 cases was now on a downward trend in the province, particularly in the provincial capital of Karachi where the positivity ratio had decreased by 3% to 21%.
The forum was informed that even though cases are decreasing in Karachi, the fourth wave was gripping other parts of the country, especially the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) region, which was now reporting a positivity ratio of 26%.
Murad informed the NCOC that Sindh had entered its sixth week of the fourth wave, which now seemed to be subsiding gradually.
He added that 67% of the infections in the provincial capital could be attributed to travellers returning from Lahore, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Peshawar, and Islamabad and said the provincial capital had been hit particularly hard by the Delta variant of the pandemic.
“At least 1,210 patients are in critical condition in the city and the fatality rate has witnessed an increase in Karachi.”
The chief minister also informed the participants of the meeting that in a bid to contain the spread of the pandemic, his government had imposed a week-long lockdown across the province.
Speaking about the availability of hospital beds to cater to coronavirus patients, Murad said at present, there were a total of 1,120 oxygen beds, including 537 provided by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
The Sindh government installed 583 more oxygen beds in hospitals from its own resources, he added.
According to the CM, 100 beds were available at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, 75 beds at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, 100 beds at Eidgah Maternity, 150 beds at Expo, and 158 beds at specialised hospitals for Covid-19.
According to the NCOC data, Sindh reported 42 Covid-19 daily deaths in the past 24 hours, followed by 31 in Punjab, pushing the country's toll to 23,797.
Around 4,720 new Covid-19 cases have been recorded in the country, raising the tally to 1,063,125. In the past 24 hours, Sindh reported 2,170 new cases and 42 deaths, Punjab 1,099 cases and 31 deaths, K-P 584 cases and 17 deaths, Islamabad 524 cases and two deaths, Balochistan 102 cases and one death, AJK 335 cases and two deaths and Gilgit-Baltistan 64 cases.
The country has reported 4,780 Covid-19 recoveries over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 959,491 so far. The recovery rate is 90.3%.
The NCOC further said 974,720 Covid-19 jabs were administered across the country on August 6.
Asad, who heads the NCOC, wrote in a tweet that four weeks back, 21% of the country’s 50 years or older population had received at least one vaccine dose.
“Now that number is 33%. This is the age group which is most vulnerable to serious disease due to Covid. Please particularly encourage those in this age group to vaccinate.”
Separately, three aircraft of the PIA airlifted a fresh batch of two million doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine from Beijing to Pakistan, said the airline's country manager for China Qadir Bux Sangi.
Sangi added that another batch of 1.5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, purchased by Pakistan from Chinese company CanSino, would be brought to the country in the next few days