Covid issue continues to worsen amid 5th wave


• Country logs 7,586 new infections
• 20 more patients succumb to deadly virus
• Country’s positivity rate stands at 13%
• Karachi imposed smart lockdown, its positivity rate reaches 43%
• NCOC revises COVID protocols

By Uzma Zafar
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reported 7,586 fresh cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours as the Omicron driven fifth wave of the pandemic continues to get worse, official figures showed Sunday morning.
Pakistan registered its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases — 7,678 — on Friday since the pandemic started in 2020, the National Command and Operation Centre’s (NCOC) statistics had showed.
According to the NCOC, a total of 58,334 tests were conducted in the country during the last 24 hours, of which 7,586 came back positive, pushing the nationwide tally of the virus cases to 1,367,605. The country’s positivity rate now stands at a record high of 13%.
Meanwhile, 20 more patients succumbed to the virus during the same period, taking the death toll to 29,097.
In addition to this, the country’s active coronavirus cases surged to 70,263, making it the highest in over four months. Pakistan last reported 65,725 active cases on September 16, 2021.
NCOC revises COVID protocols for mosques
A day earlier, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had revised COVID-19 protocols for mosques and announced that only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to pray inside the places of worship.
The body leading Pakistan’s COVID-19 response also announced on Friday that all schools with a high COVID-19 positivity ratio would remain closed for one week across the country.
NCOC announces closure of schools with high COVID-19 positivity ratio for one week
On January 21, the NCOC had decided to shut down all schools with a high COVID-19 positivity ratio for one week across the country to curb the new variant, Omicron.
A notification issued by the NCOC had said that all the educational institutions, premises, sections, specific classes with high positivity will be closed for one week.
“Provincial administration, in consultation with district health, education authorities, and school administrations, is to set a threshold of cases for deciding such closures,” the notification had added.
The NCOC had added that COVID testing in educational institutes was carried out in major Omicron-hit cities to ascertain disease spread among students and ensure accurate disease mapping.
Therefore, keeping in view the results, the NCOC had taken the following decisions:
• Aggressive testing in education institutes for next two weeks especially in high disease prevalence cities.
• Federating units to carry out special vaccination drives in schools to ensure 100% vaccination of students over 12 years of age.