Pakistan vaccine
A resident sits in a waiting area after getting a dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, at a vaccination center in Karachi, Pakistan March 22, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistan’s coronavirus cases crossed the grim milestone of 700,000 on Wednesday with 4,004 cases reported during the last 24 hours.

The country’s death toll also surged to 15,026 as 102 people lost their lives to the virus during the past day.

The total number of cases in the country stood at 700,188 on Wednesday.

According to the National Health Services, 41,699 tests were conducted for COVID-19 during the last 24 hours that showed the virus positivity rate was 9.6 per cent in the country with active cases jumping to 64,373.

Pakistan’s number of cases has declined slightly in the past two days. On Tuesday the country reported less than 4,000 cases.

Increased restrictions yielding results

Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiative Asad Umar in a tweet attributed a decline in single-day tally to the ‘increased restrictions, broader lockdowns & stronger SOP.’

Though the initial signs of positivity are slowing yet due to the last two weeks’ momentum, patients on critical care and mortality will stay at high levels for some time. Please follow SOPs and be safe, said the minister in a tweet a day earlier.

Classes from 1 to 8 postponed in COVID-19 hit districts

In view of the spike in the number of cases over the past two weeks, the NCOC has decided to postpone resumption of classes from Grades 1 to 8 in most-affected areas till April 28.

Minister for Education & Professional Training, in a tweet announced that in the nine districts affected by coronavirus— Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Sargodha, and Sheikhupura — Grades 1-8 will remain closed till April 28 while Grades 9-12 will resume in a staggered manner from April 19.

Women health workers engaged to guide elderly persons for vaccination

The District Health Department of Islamabad has engaged Lady Health Workers (LHWs) to visit rural and urban areas to guide citizens above 65 to visit their nearby vaccination centres and receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the District Health Officer (DHO) of Islamabad Dr Zaeem Zia the initiative was helpful as the women health workers are engaging the local community leaders and elderly people, particularly women, in their native language.

For convenience of the people, the District Health Department has set up around 15 vaccination centres across the city where a walk-in facility for free vaccination is being provided to the elderly and frontline health workers.

Single dose vaccination for 80-year old

However, at the Rural Health Centre (RHC) in Tarlai, a new counter has been set up for those above 70 years, he said. At this centre, patients above 80 can also receive a single-dose vaccine, he said.

Tarlai Centre is reserved for those above 70 years and the measure was taken to expedite the hassle-free process for the people of this age group.