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A student receives a dose of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine from a health worker while others wait their turn at a school in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan’s official body monitoring the coronavirus situation in the country, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), has extended the existing Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) to February 15.

Earlier, the NCOC on January 22 had announced a number of measures like staggered attendance in schools in cities with 20 per cent positivity rate, smart lockdowns and ban on unvaccinated individuals from entering mosques.

These restrictions were valid till January 3. However, in view of the spike in cases, the NCOC has extended these NPIs for 15 more days.

A meeting will be held on February 10 to review the situation, a notification issued by the NCOC said on Friday.

Pakistan, meanwhile, recorded on Friday the highest number of single-day cases, 8,183, after 68,624 tests conducted in 24 hours.

According to the NCOC, 30 people died in one day taking the death toll to 29,192.

The country’s positivity rate stood at 11.92 per cent on Friday, it further said.

98,221 active cases

Pakistan’s active cases of COVID-19 jumped to 98,221 on Friday raising alarm for the health authorities who have warned the streak might continue in coming days if preventive measures and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were not followed strictly.

The NCOC in a tweet showed over 20 per cent positivity rate in 6 cities — Mardan, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Hyderabad (Sindh) and Muzaffarabad — and called for special care of the elderly persons as mortality rate was higher among the senior citizens.

Hospitals in Islamabad hit

Three hospitals in Islamabad have either shut their Out-Patient Department (OPD) services or limited the visit timings of the patients after scores of their employees, doctors, nurses, paramedics and support staff tested positive, raising concerns among the local health authorities.

Federal Government Services Hospital, which is also known as Polyclinic Hospital, announced to shut down its OPD w.e.f January 28 until February 5 as around 100 of its staff tested positive for COVID-19.

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A girl waits as a healthcare worker prepares a dose of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to administer at a vaccination centre in Karachi, Pakistan, January 21, 2022. Image Credit: REUTERS

Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) is the second hospital whose employees are affected by COVID-19. The hospital as a preventive measure limited the OPD timings and declared it would not receive patients after 10am.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) hospital is the third major public sector hospital where an increasing number of COVID-19 cases have been reported in the employees of the hospital.

In view of the situation, the hospitals have suspended elective surgeries. However, the emergency department would remain open and emergency surgeries would be performed round the clock.

Doctors and staff will be on duty in their offices/wards as per the duty roster. All staff working in OPDs will report to the security office, said a senior official of the Health Ministry adding the attached dispensaries/medical centres would also continue working.