KARACHI: Pakistan confirmed 1800 new COVID-19 cases on January 18, 2021, along with 58 new deaths, bringing the country’s death toll to 11,055 as per the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
The nationwide case tally has surged to 523,011 as authorities approved two anti-Covid vaccines, the AstraZeneca Oxford and Sinopharm vaccines, for emergency use.
The majority of the latest deaths occurred in Punjab, which accounts for the most deaths overall. There are currently 35,485 active COVID-19 cases across Pakistan, while 476,471 people have recovered from the virus, giving Pakistan a recovery rate of around 91 percent, among the highest in the world.
Pakistani Authorities have struggled to balance containing the pandemic with the economic fallout that results from prolonged lockdowns, choosing instead to pursue a policy of ‘smart lockdowns’ to sustain economic activity.
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.