Pakistan shop eid women
Women shop for the upcoming Eid Al Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, at a market in Lahore, Pakistan, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan will receive the first batch of 1.238 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine under the COVAX programme and the consignment will arrive on May 8 at the Islamabad International Airport.

Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, Director General, Health, said Thursday that the first tranche was expected in March, but the supply was delayed.

Pakistan has now managed to get the vaccine from South Korea to ensure the ongoing vaccination drive continues in the country uninterrupted.

Active cases fall

Pakistan’s active cases of COVID-19 have fallen from last week’s figure of 91,000 to 84,172 on Thursday, registering a considerable decline.

According to the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC), 108 people died in the last 24 hours while 4,198 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed.

The national positivity despite fall in the number of fatalities hovered over 9 per cent and the total number of cases in the country surged to 845,833 while the death toll reached 18,537, NCOC’s data revealed.

Dr Safdar said the slight decline in number of active cases and fatalities is largely due to strict implementation of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPI) in big cities.

Vaccination cover expands

Pakistan has increased the number of vaccination centres working six days a week, except Friday, in two shifts during Ramadan.

In Punjab alone, so far 1 million people have been vaccinated, while in Islamabad the first dose has been administered to approximately 200,000 people, including those aged 40 and above.

Board exams to take place after June 15

Shafqat Mehmood, Federal Minister for Education, in a tweet announced that Board exams — Secondary (Matric) and Higher Secondary — would commence after June 15.

“The Intermediate and Matric exams would be given priority so that results can come in before university admissions,” said the education minister in his tweet.

Public behaviour during Eid will matter

According to Dr Yasmin Rashid, Punjab’s Health Minister, the next 15-20 days are important with regard to curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Public behaviour during Eid Al Fitr will play a role in containing the number of cases, she said.

She appealed to the people to celebrate Eid in a simple way and restrict their movements during this auspicious occasion.