People including overseas Pakistani workers who want to fly to the Middle East stand in a queue to register before receiving a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Islamabad on June 28, 2021. Image Credit: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s single-day tally of COVID-19 cases has been on the rise during the first three days of July and the country on Saturday reported 1,400 new cases in the past 24 hours.

According to the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC), 34 died during the same period.

The NCOC data reveals that the country’s positivity rate was 2.91 per cent on Saturday and the number of active cases in the past three days jumped from 31,606 to 32,321

With these latest figures, Pakistan’s total number of cases has climbed to 961,085, including 22,379 deaths, while 48,027 tests for COVID-19 were conducted in the past 24 hours.

The gradual rise in the COVID-19 cases during the last three days — 1,037 on Wednesday, 1,277 on Thursday and 1,400 on Friday — has led to the fears of the 4th wave of coronavirus that Asad Umar, Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiative and Chairman of the NCOC, had warned a few days earlier. “In the absence of strong SOP enforcement and continued strong vaccination programme, the fourth wave could emerge in Pakistan in July.”

Meanwhile, in order to avoid the persistent shortage of COVID-19 vaccines — Pfizer and Astrazeneca — for study or work visa holders who are bound to travel to the countries where the Chinese vaccines are not acceptable, the government has procured 2.5 million doses of Moderna vaccine as donation from the US.

Asad Umar in a tweet on Saturday confirmed these vaccines would be administered to those who are travelling for work or studies to the countries where certain vaccines are not acceptable.

Vaccine delivery marks enduring friendship with Pakistan: US

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken termed the delivery of 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Pakistan as a mark of enduring friendship and cooperation with Pakistan on COVID-19.

“We are committed to bringing this pandemic to an end around the world,” US Secretary said in his tweet.

Pakistan during the past few days has been reporting vaccine shortage, particularly Pfizer and Astrazeneca, the two vaccines that are commended by several countries. A large number of the Pakistani workers and labourers waiting to travel.

These overseas Pakistanis held a protest and blocked roads in Islamabad, Multan and other cities against shortage of vaccines. They complained that due to the prolonged unavailability of the two vaccines their jobs/studies were suffering.

However, after the arrival of Moderna vaccine and clarification by the government, they will be now administered the US vaccine before their return to their foreign destinations.