Education, health ministers meet today as positivity rate reaches 7.8pc in country

With nine deaths, country reports 4,027 Covid cases in a day

ISLAMABAD   –  At least nine deaths and 4,027 new cases of Coronavirus were reported in the country during the last twenty-four hours, officials said on Sunday.

In a tweet, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said that at least 51,236 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours and positivity ratio remained 7.8 percent. It said 752 patients were in critical condition.

As per the NCOC data, after the addition of four new deaths, the overall toll has now surged to 29,012 whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,324,147 after adding the fresh 4,027 cases. During the last 24 hours (Saturday), 51,236 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 7.8 percent. The number of patients in critical care was 752.

During the last 24 hours, as many as 579 patients have recovered from the virus whereas the total recoveries stood at 1,263,584. As of Sunday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 31,551.

As many as 499,830 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 452,261 in Punjab, 182,199 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 110,963 in Islamabad, 33,699 in Balochistan, 34,750 in Azad Kashmir and 10,445 in Gilgit-Baltistan. Moreover, 13,088 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 7,694 in Sindh, 5,958 in KP, 969 in Islamabad, 749 in Azad Kashmir, 367 in Balochistan and 187 in Gilgit Baltistan, according to the NCOC.

On Saturday, the NCOC imposed a complete ban on serving snacks and meals in flights and public transport from January 17, according to a press release issued by the forum. The NCOC has also summoned a meeting of the provincial education and health ministers on January 17 (today) to  suggest a new set of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) focusing on the education sector, public gatherings, marriage ceremonies, indoor/outdoor dining and transport sector, according to the NCOC. 

The NCOC decided to extensively engage with provinces, especially with the Sindh government for necessary measures to tackle the rising coronavirus disease. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was asked to ensure in-flight mask wearing and also implement SOPs at all the airports.  The forum asked the federating units to take strict measures against violators of SOPs, especially mask-wearing and to ensure enforcement of obligatory vaccination regime.  

Meanwhile, the Sindh government on Saturday decided that schools across the province will remain open even as the Omicron-driven fifth wave of Covid-19 spreads at an alarming rate. 

The decision to continue educational activities was taken in a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on Covid-19 presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah. The meeting’s participants also decided that all public and private hospitals will be surveyed in order to determine their current capacities and to ascertain what more is needed. It was also decided to strictly implement Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). Furthermore, wearing masks at public places, markets and wedding halls was declared mandatory. The government officials who do not wear masks would be fined, which, it was suggested, could be equal to their one day’s salary. Additionally, it was instructed that food at wedding events would be served in boxes. 

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