For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan, as many as 68,624 Covid-19 cases were reported in a single day from across the country, according to the daily update from the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
The uptick in Covid-19 cases comes while the government is taking stringent measures to stem the spread of Omicron, a variant that experts say is only causing mild symptoms so far but has been very contagious. A sudden and alarming rise of cases has once again put pressure on healthcare facilities and medical practitioners, according to media reports.
“Statistics Jan 28, : Total tests in last 24 hours: 68,624; positive cases: 8,183; positivity %: 11.92%; deaths: 30; patients on critical care: 1,353,” read the NCOC tweet on Friday.
Moreover, the countrywide data showed that Sindh reported the maximum number of cases with 535,965 infected patients, Punjab 471,925, Islamabad 123,648, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 189,300, Balochistan 34,187, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (36,465), and Gilgit Baltistan (10,580).
The forum, which serves as the nerve centre of the country’s unified efforts to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, announced that existing non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) announced till Jan 31, 2022, has been extended till Feb 15, 2022. The fresh review would be carried out on Feb 10, 2022.
It also shared the data of the Covid-19 positivity ratio in big cities and urged people to get the necessary booster dose.
The NCOC, on Thursday, decided to extend curbs on schools until mid-February amid a surge in Covid-19 cases. In cities and districts with less than 10 per cent Covid-19 positivity, schools will remain open, read a statement, adding that schools would be opened for vaccinated students from the ages of 12 and above.
However, in cities where there was a positivity rate of over 10 per cent, students would be allowed to attend school on alternative days. “Half of the students with the age group of less than 12 will be allowed in schools each day. Moreover, in cities with corona positivity of over 10 per cent, only over 12 years of age students will be allowed in schools. Educational institutions will have to take all the possible steps to ensure the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” it read.
On Monday, World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that it was dangerous to assume the Omicron variant would herald the end of Covid-19’s acutest phase. During WHO’s executive board meeting, the director general exhorted nations to stay focused to beat the pandemic.
Furthermore, data from Johns Hopkins University – one of the leading institutions observing the virus data – on Friday showed that 366,298,737 cases have so far been reported from all over the world, with 5,637,717 deaths, while 9,900,312,955 people have been administered with vaccine doses.