641 Covid new cases reported countrywide

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday reported 641 coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours — the highest number of daily cases in over three months since March 10, when the daily tally was 723 cases.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 18,813 Covid tests were conducted across the country Wednesday, while two people died from the deadly virus. The national positivity rate now stands at 3.41 per cent.
Data from the health department shows that Karachi has been the most affected city in the recent wave with a positivity rate of 19.09pc. In the last 24 hours, 2,043 tests were conducted in the city of which 390 came out positive.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mardan and Azad Kashmir’s Muzaffarabad followed with positivity rates of 5.95pc and 4.62pc, respectively. In addition, Lahore’s positivity was recorded at 3.49pc, while in Islamabad it was 2.37pc.
Health authorities have said that the new wave of cases in the country could partially be attributed to two sub-variants of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 — BA.4 and BA.5. This meant that the virus would continue to spread fast.
The government has called for a return of precautionary measures. At a press conference of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) Wednesday, Health Minister Qadir Patel announced three standard operating procedures (SOPs) that need to be “followed religiously”.
He said masks had been made compulsory in all closed gatherings, airplanes, railways, and public transport. Social distancing was a must and citizens were told to ensure proper sanitisation.
Patel also said the government had decided to increase mass testing across the country for which instructions had been sent to the health secretaries of all four provinces. –Agencies