pakistan covid swab testing
A health care worker takes a nasal swab sample from a woman at a COVID-19 testing facility at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan on Sunday registered a decline in single-day fatalities of COVID-19 as 113 persons reportedly died due to the virus in the past twenty-four hours. This is the lowest number of single-day toll in recent days.

Last week on April 28, the country had recorded the highest number of deaths - 201 - since the virus outbreak in the country.

According to the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) 4,414 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the past twenty-four hours taking the country’s overall tally of cases to 829,933 and deaths, 18,070.

The NCOC data further reveals that active cases after 45,275 tests in one day were 89,661 on Sunday with a positivity rate of 9.74 per cent.

Punjab, a province of over 100-million, is ahead of other provinces in vaccination of its people, 78,000 doses administered on Saturday, 61,000 on Friday.

However, the positivity rate of COVID-19 continues to pose a challenge to the province’s health authorities.

At a press conference on Sunday, Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said the positivity rate in some districts were higher than Lahore where it was coming down and things were improving. Layyah for instance registered 31 per cent positivity rate, she said.

100 per cent occupied

Lahore’s ventilators occupancy rate, 81.5 per cent, was also lower than Gujranwala where 100 per cent were occupied.

“There is much noise in the media that the conditions in Lahore are bad,” Rashid said, sharing that on April 25, Lahore had 1,340 patients admitted in hospitals while on May 2, they were 1,149.

Besides, occupancy of oxygen beds is also reduced to 42 per cent from 72 per cent last week, she said.

Giving further details, Dr Yasmin Rashid said the provincial government had provided 50 ventilators to public sector hospitals in Lahore and there was interruption in oxygen supply.

In all the District Headquarters hospitals (DHQs) of Punjab there were 2,730 beds of which around 600 were occupied. There were 97 ventilators in the DHQs of which 20 were in use, she further detailed.

Dr. Faisal Sultan, Prime Minister’s top aide on Health in a tweet regarding different variants of COVID-19 detected recently informed that the government was monitoring the new variants of COVID-19.

“Every virus mutates and the coronavirus is not unique for doing so. We’re learning more about variants but in the meantime, everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated right away without hesitation,” he asked the people.