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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday reported 76 Covid-19 deaths, which is the highest number after June 9, 2021. The country also reported 4,497 new Covid-19 infections, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said.

Following the emergence of 76 Covid-19 deaths total death tally has reached 23,209 since the pandemic outbreak, and case tally has reached 1,020,324 after emergence of 4,497 new cases.

Pakistan for the second consecutive day reported more than 4,000 new coronavirus cases.

NCOC endorses Sindh govt’s measures

As per the NCOC, 59,707 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, out of which 4,497 returned positive reflecting national positivity ratio of 7.5 percent.

In addition to this, 1,612 patients have recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 937,354, while the number of active cases is 59,761.

Meanwhile, NCOC Chief Asad Umar along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan, while addressing a press conference here, announced that the government set August 31 as deadline for anti-Covid vaccination, following which only vaccinated staff and people would be allowed to enter both public, private sector offices, businesses, and high-risk sectors.

The NCOC chief, while explaining the objectives of the Covid-19 vaccination drive, said "We are taking all these steps for the people and it was not a punishment but acknowledgement to make you realise that every individual plays an important role for this society and economy".

He further said the government on a priority basis was trying to make no compromise on the health issues of every citizen, so that the society keeps running in a smooth manner.

The NCOC chief said that the NCOC had already made a decision earlier that unvaccinated people would be barred from travelling in domestic flights from August 1st, likewise, teachers and staff would also not be allowed to enter educational institutes unvaccinated from this date.

He said, we cannot take risk of children, adding that around 80 percent of teachers have already been vaccinated.

The minister said ban would be extended from August 31st on other sectors and places where risk of coronavirus spread is high due to excessive assembling of people, including transport sector, markets and public-dealing offices.

"These are all facilities were people visit in bulk and have to get in touch with people there and are exposed to the virus," he said.

The minister said the drivers providing pick and drop facility to schoolchildren would be required to vaccinate themselves, while those travelling on public transport should also follow the deadline.

The students with age of over 18 years would also have to vaccinate themselves to attend educational institutes, while employees of private and public sector entities could not enter their office unvaccinated after August 31.

In addition, people in high-risk areas including hotels, restaurants, and marriage halls would also have to get vaccinated, in addition to those of law enforcement agencies, banks, the NADRA, markets, shopping malls, and chain stores.

NCOC recommends banning air travel for unvaccinated individuals from Aug 1

Talking about the ongoing vaccination drive, the minister said that the government intended to mount the vaccination target to one million people in one day, adding that highest number of 849,692 people were vaccinated on July 28, following the vaccination of 778,000 on July 27, and 680,000 on July 26.

He said, the single doze vaccination also touched highest number of 637,000 in one day, adding that in provinces one day record of 500,000 vaccinations was made in Punjab, 169,000 in Sindh, 111,000 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 18,500 in Balochistan.

The minister said that people should realise that whatever they did, have an effect; if they follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), the coronavirus would definitely come down and if they ignore, the pandemic would spread.

He said when SOPs were followed in Ramazan and Eid, positive results were witnessed as the pandemic had gone down, but people take it easy when it recedes and consequently, it climbs up accordingly.

Asad Umar, however, said that implementation of SOPs was not the only solution, the people needed to be vaccinated as early as possible.

He said that the government had adopted prudent strategy by striking a balance between controlling coronavirus and allowing economic activity across the country.

He said that complete lockdowns did not work in India and Bangladesh and had a very negative effect.

He said the government had a comprehensive framework and was taking data-based decisions.

However, he said there were problems in compliance of coronavirus SOPs all across the country.

Giving data about the enforcement of coronavirus SOPs, the minister said that 56.4 per cent followed SOPs in the federal capital, while the percentage was 46.6 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa followed by Azad Jammu and Kashmir with 42.7 per cent, Gilgit-Baltistan 37.4 per cent, Punjab 38, and Sindh and Balochistan 33 percent.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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