COVID-19 cases continue to rise as Pakistan gears up for vaccination

COVID-19 cases continue to rise as Pakistan gears up for vaccination

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan recorded 1,772 new COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday (19 January 2021) while the authorities are gearing up to initiate vaccination drives in the country.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the death toll was the highest in Sindh, followed by Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan. The total number of cases has reached 524,783 in the country. However, the mortality rate is relatively less, with a total of 11,103 deaths so far. Moreover, based on the statistics provided by the government’s portal, the recovery rate is 91.2 percent.

Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP) has approved two anti-COVID vaccines, the AstraZeneca Oxford and Sinopharm vaccines, for emergency use. Earlier today, the Sindh Health Department recommended allocating Rs1.5 billion for the procurement of anti-coronavirus vaccines. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that the preparations for the anti-COVID vaccination drive have been completed by the provincial government. A staff comprising 637 medics has been trained in 189 hospitals, he added.

On average, Pakistan has added 2268.5 new infections per day since the beginning of the new year, according to NCOC data. If this pace is maintained, most likely, there will be fewer Covid cases this month after three consecutive months of rising infections.

However, a new variant of coronavirus, first detected in the United Kingdom, has also spread to Pakistan. It is not yet known if the vaccines that have currently been approved effectively deal with this new strain, threatening to derail the progress made in combating the virus thus far.

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