Major cities face complete lockdown


-Asad Umar says country witnessed highest number of virus fatalities this week
-Highlights rising positivity ratio in Karachi, Hyderabad
-Reports daily over 600 patients admitting to hospitals across country

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan witnessed the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 this week, National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) head Asad Umar said on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference, he said more than 600 patients are being admitted to hospitals across the country daily, adding that the pressure on hospitals is mounting due to rising positivity ratio of Covid-19 infections.
“The number of patients using oxygen at hospitals is more than 4,500, which is more than 30 per cent of the first wave of the coronavirus,” the planning and development minister said.
Asad Umar said Sindh is now witnessing a rise in Covid-19 cases. Positivity rate of infections in Karachi and Hyderabad has doubled of late, he pointed out.
Iran reported more than 25,000 new cases and 395 deaths from Covid-19 the other day, Asad Umar said, adding the Covid situation in India is even worse, where about 275,000 infections were reported in a single day. Covid deaths in India exceeded 2,000 the previous day while fatalities touched 136 in Pakistan, he added.
“The NCOC will have to impose new restrictions,” he said, adding it has shared suggestions, which will be announced on Friday.
Moreover, Punjab reported 103 more deaths from the novel coronavirus over the last 24 hours, the second highest single-day tally for the province so far.
According to the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, the provincial tally has jumped to 7,664 with addition of 103 fatalities. As many as 2,969 new infections were reported during the same period, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 276,535. Of the new cases, Lahore reported a record 1,454 infections. Rawalpindi reported 292 cases, Faisalabad 244, Multan 173, Sargodha 145, and Bahawalpur 117. The novel coronavirus claimed 148 more lives in Pakistan during the last 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 16,600. The tally is the third-highest coronavirus since the pandemic emerged last year.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said the country reported 148 more deaths from the pandemic, while 5,499 new cases were reported during the same period. Also, World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Pakistan Dr Palitha Mahipala on Wednesday lauded Pakistan’s Covid-19 vaccination efforts.
Taking to Twitter, he said: “I appreciate efforts of the Government of Pakistan for rolling out COVID-19 vaccination including vaccination of foreigners in the National Vaccine Deployment Plan & making excellent arrangements at the vaccination centers across Pakistan, with Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place.”
Pakistan started vaccinating people in the age group 50-59 against COVID-19 today. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) last week decided to start vaccination of citizens aged from 50 to 59 from April 21 (today). Pakistan is expected to receive two million doses of COVID vaccine from China by April 24. Quoting sources, media reported that the vaccine would start arriving in the country from April 21 (today), and out of the two million doses, 1.5 million would be purchased from China while 500,000 would be provided as a gift from the neighbouring country.