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Pakistan’s Covid-19 cases, positivity rate rise to highest levels since May

Pakistan has reported 3,752 coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours, taking the national positivity rate to a massive 7.51 per cent as the country battles a fourth wave of the pandemic.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), this is the highest number of cases reported since May 21 when 4,007 infections were reported, and a dramatic overnight increase from the 2,819 cases reported a day earlier.

Meanwhile, the positivity rate in the country is the highest since May 19 when it was recorded as 8.23pc.

During the last 24 hours, 49,947 tests were carried out and another 32 deaths were reported. The total number of cases in the country has risen to 1,008,446 and the death toll from the virus stands at 23,048.

Covid-19 positivity rate in major cities

Karachi: 24.82pc

Muzaffarabad: 19.76pc

Rawalpindi: 18.59pc

Skardu: 14.66pc

Peshawar: 12.41pc

Islamabad: 10.95pc

The NCOC data also showed that 38pc of ventilators were occupied in Islamabad, followed by 20pc in Lahore, 17pc in Peshawar and 15pc in Multan. Meanwhile, 51pc of oxygen beds were occupied in Gilgit, 47pc in Karachi, 30pc in Muzaffarabad and 24pc in Rawalpindi.

President urges Pakistanis to ‘get serious’

Sounding alarm over the dramatic increase in cases, President Dr Arif Alvi advised citizens to “get serious”.

Delta variant

The more infectious Delta variant is believed to be responsible for the country’s fourth Covid-19 wave. First identified in India in March, the Delta variant has spread to more than 90 countries and is also the most leading variant in India, the United Kingdom, Russia, Israel, Singapore and more than a dozen other countries.

The variant, scientists say, has features that allow it to dodge some of the body’s immune system defenses. Plus, it has the highest transmissibility of any variant so far.

At the start of July, Prime Minister Imran Khan had issued a clear warning of a looming fourth wave, terming the Delta variant “the biggest concern”. The concerns were also echoed by Asad Umar, who said that there were clear signs of a fourth Covid-19 wave starting in Pakistan.

Despite the warnings, cases have been steadily rising over the past month. On July 15, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faial Sultan had said that local transmission of Delta variant had started in Pakistan.

According to the Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences at the University of Karachi, there is 92.2pc occurrence of the Delta variant in the city.

Dr Qaiser Sajjad, secretary general of the Pakistan Medical Association, had said that citizens should not think that getting a vaccine jab reduces the need to follow SOPs.

“With the deadly Indian variant fast spreading in the country particularly in Karachi, the need for vaccination is all the more important,” he said.

Last week, public and some private sector hospitals in Karachi had started refusing patients after reaching capacity. Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director of Jinnah Hospital, had said that 77 out of its 90 coronavirus beds were occupied and it was planned to add more.

“We did not face such a capacity situation during previous waves. The situation is getting pretty bad,” Jamali had said.

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