–Positivity rate reaches 6.65pc as 42 more die
ISLAMABAD: The number of coronavirus cases has been increasing consistently for the last few weeks with the country witnessed the highest single-day tally in four months on Friday last, according to the data provided by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday.
The NCOC said that 2,843 more people tested positive for coronavirus during the last twenty-four hours, bringing the total number to 371,508 while 42 coronavirus deaths were reported in the last 24 hours – the highest since mid-July. This brings the country’s death toll to 7,603.
A total of 42,752 tests were conducted across the country during the last twenty-four hours. The positivity rate has increased up to 6.65 per cent in Pakistan. So far 5,141,403 samples have been tested.
So far 328,931 patients have recovered from the virus while the number of active cases stands at 34,974. Over 17,000 Covid-19 cases have been reported across the country in the past week while more than 490 lives lost. Around 1,613 patients are in critical condition.
The number of Covid-19 patients in Sindh has reached 161,028, Punjab has recorded 113,457 cases, 43,730 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 26,177 in Islamabad and 16,699 cases have been recorded in Balochistan to date.
Meanwhile, Punjab health officials on Saturday reported 564 new cases of coronavirus in the province during the past 24 hours.
According to a spokesperson of the Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, 15 more people lost their lives due to Covid-19 in 24 hours, surging the death toll to 2,841 in the province while the count of recovered patients in Punjab has reached 97,966 as 38 more patients recovered.
After a meeting on the coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced banning indoor weddings and large public gatherings in a televised address to the nation which came into effect on Friday.
The premier said that the government is also considering early and extended winter vacations. “If corona[virus] cases are [found] on the rise because of schools, then the government may increase the duration of winter vacations,” he maintained.
The development came on the back of the NCOC’s recommendations to ban public gatherings exceeding 300 people, allowing outdoor dining and takeaway till 10 pm, closing down cinemas, theatres and shrines and closing markets early with “safe days”.
The NCOC has also directed public and private companies to implement a 50 per cent “work from home” policy.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development and NCOC Chief Asad Umar said the body will be recommending cutting short the 2021 summer break to compensate for early and extended winter vacations this year.
“No sector comes close to the education sector in terms of the number of people attached to it. There are over 50 million students across Pakistan,” he said. “Although children have the ability to fight the disease better, they are carriers [of the virus].”
“I think we should announce early and extended winter vacations to contain the second wave of infections,” he continued. “The summer break can be curtailed to ensure that the number of school days does not change.”
The final decision in this regard will be taken in the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference scheduled for Monday.