Asad Umar says Pakistan has set an example for other countries by administering five million jabs in six days
ISLAMABAD:Federal Minister of Planning and Development and chief of the National Command and Operation Centre Asad Umar on Sunday said that the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, driven by the Delta variant, is hitting the country had as infections continue to spread rapidly.
Speaking during a press conference in Islamabad alongside the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, Umar said that despite the rising number of cases, the situation in Pakistan is not as bad as other countries in the region, including Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Indonesia.
He said that the total number of COVID-19 vaccinations in Pakistan have cross 30 million, adding that the country is making "good progress" with the pace of vaccinations.
More than 10 million doses have been administered in the last 16 days with five million administered last week, Umar said, adding that even "superpowers have not been able to achieve what Pakistan has" in terms of vaccination.
The federal government is spending Rs200 billion on vaccines and, currently, three thousand mobile units are providing door-to-door vaccination services, he said.
The minister also pointed out that delays in shipments have led to a shortage of vaccines in the country.
Umar also shed light on the curbs that the federal and provincial governments have imposed in different cities of the country to contain the spread of the virus and said that both the Centre and the provinces "are in this situation together." He, however, highlighted that decisions should be made by a central authority (the federal government), otherwise, it would lead to mismanagement and cause trouble to the masses.
He emphasised that the NCOC has "nothing to do with politics."
Pertaining to the issue of sanctions, Umar stated that restrictions should be imposed in a targeted manner so that the employment of people is not affected.
The NCOC boss stated that the main spread of coronavirus is because of the Delta variant — which first emerged in India — adding that it spreads faster than the British variant. He added that he would make recommendations to the prime minister regarding the coronavirus situation tomorrow (August 2).
Speaking on the occasion, SAPM Dr Faisal sultan noted that the country is passing through the fourth wave of coronavirus, adding that overall, the coronavirus positivity rate is over 8%.
Dr Sultan said that 55% of patients within Karachi are on intensive care beds, while in the last few days, 480 to 500 people are being admitted to hospitals' coronavirus wards on a daily basis.
He added that the rise in cases has exerted pressure on the health sector, especially in major cities like Abbottabad and Islamabad.
Dr Sultan stressed that wearing masks, not going to crowded places, and keeping rooms ventilated can help curb the spread of the disease, adding that vaccination reduces the risk of getting sick by ten times.
Pakistan's daily coronavirus case count crossed the 5,000 mark for the first time in five months after the NCOC reported 5,026 fresh infections in the country on Sunday morning.
According to the NCOC's latest stats, 56,965 coronavirus tests were conducted during the last 24 hours, out of which 5,026 turned out to be positive. The virus cases reported today were the highest since April 4.
At present, the COVID-19 positivity rate in the country stands at 8.82%, said the NCOC.
Meanwhile, the novel coronavirus has claimed 62 more lives in the last 24 hours, pushing the national death tally to 23,422.
In addition to this, 941,659 people have recovered from the disease so far across the country, while the number of active cases is 69,756.
Out of the 62 deaths during the last 24 hours, 30 were reported in Sindh, 18 in Punjab, 6 in KP, 2 in Islamabad, and 3 each in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.