ISLAMABAD: Around 2,664 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported across the country over the past 24 hours, pushing the national tally to 605,200.
According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the positivity percentage of the virus has been measured at 6.6% while 32 people have passed away from the disease in a single day.
So far, the total number of cases in the country has risen to 605,200. Out of these, 570,571 have recovered from the novel virus while the total death toll has increased to 13,508.
On Saturday, Pakistan conducted 40,564 tests of the virus after which the above-mentioned results were obtained.
Punjab on Sunday also reported more than 1,600 Covid-19 cases for the first time since June 2020. Data from the government’s coronavirus portal showed that 1,653 new infections were detected in the province in the last 24 hours, marking the fifth straight day Punjab recorded more than 1,000 cases.
The last time the province reported such a high number of cases was during the first wave on June 24, 2020, when it confirmed 1,655 infections. The province’s tally now stands at 185,468.
Earlier, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood on Wednesday announced the closure of schools in several cities from Monday, March 15 following a spike in coronavirus cases.
According to the details, Speaking to the media after a meeting at the National Command and Operations (NCOC), the federal minister said educational institutes would be closed in Islamabad and other Punjab cities from Monday for two weeks.
“All educational institutions in Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Lahore, Gujrat, Multan, Rawalpindi and Sialkot will remain closed from March 15 till 28,” adding that the closure will be counted as a spring break.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar has confirmed that the third wave of Covid-19 has started in Pakistan and attributed the rising number of cases to the UK strain.
Speaking to the private media, Umar said that “Yes, there is no doubt that the third wave has started and basically, the phenomena that are driving it is the spread of the UK strain.”
The minister further said that the uptick in cases was witnessed in districts where a large portion of the Pakistan British community lives.
“We then asked NIH (National Institute of Health) to carry out genome sequencing, after which it became evident in northern Pakistan, including Islamabad,” said Umar.
Umar said that the new strain of the coronavirus was more transmissible than the original strain from Wuhan. The most recent research reports suggested that its mortality rate is also higher, he added.
“Our own statistics from the last few weeks show a sustained increase in our case fatality rate (the number of patients who succumbed to the virus from the total number infected). At the time, we were speculating that it may be linked to the UK strain. But now the research report is here which establishes [the link],” the minister said, terming it a “very dangerous situation”.
Previously, the second phase of Pakistan’s vaccination drive against coronavirus targeting people over the age of 60 started on Wednesday.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan also announced this news in his tweeter post stated that “Pak Covid-19 vaccination, next phase – starting 10 March, inshAllah. Beginning with the senior-most citizens, who will receive SMS with instructions on their cell phones.”
The ministry of national health also confirmed the Covid vaccination drive has begun. The people from federal capital above 60 years of age shall be jabbed free of cost in the fifteen vaccination centres put up across the city.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) had approved the Sinopham coronavirus vaccine for people above 60 years of age. The Sinopharm vaccine was being administered to people up to the age of 60 years, however, it would now be used to inoculate citizens above 60 years of age too.