Thursday, January 20, 2022

COVID-19 tightens grip over Karachi as positivity rate crosses 40% again

Karachi reports 3,149 fresh infections in last 24 hours; no indoor dining, weddings starting Jan 24 as per new NCOC guidelines

Women shop wearing mask shop in Karachi. — Reuters.
Women shop wearing mask shop in Karachi. — Reuters.

  • Karachi detects 3,149 fresh COVID-19 infections in last 24 hours.
  • New infections place city's positivity ratio to new high of 41% since pandemic hit.
  • Second most affected city after Karachi is Muzaffarabad with 25% COVID-19 positivity.

KARACHI: The COVID-19 positivity rate in Karachi climbed to 41%, Sindh health department officials confirmed Thursday morning, as the virus continues to tighten its grip over the city with a higher number of infections reported every other day.

The official data suggests that 3,149 new infections were detected in Karachi during the last 24 hours after 7,670 diagnostic tests were conducted. The new infections placed the city's positivity ratio to a new high since the pandemic hit.

Apart from Karachi, there are several other cities of Pakistan that have soaring positivity rates.

Following are the major cities of Pakistan having positivity higher than 10%:

With the highest positivity ratio, Karachi has been identified as a COVID-19 hotspot. The second most affected city is Muzaffarabad which has 25% coronavirus positivity.

  • Hyderabad — 17.27%
  • Islamabad — 15.37%
  • Lahore — 14.25%
  • Rawalpindi — 12.75%
  • Peshawar — 11.20%

The National Command and Operation Centre, after taking a "detailed review" of the current trend of the pandemic in the country and a "deliberate and consultative process", has agreed upon the following non-pharmaceutical interventions:

Restrictions for cities, districts with positivity above 10%


Indoor gatherings of all types, including weddings, will be banned from January 24.

Outdoor gatherings, including weddings, will be allowed with a cap of fully vaccinated 300 guests — applicable from Jan 24.


There will be a complete ban on indoor dining. However, outdoor dining for fully vaccinated citizens and takeaway service will be allowed.


Indoor Gyms at 50% capacity for fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed.


Cinemas will be allowed to open at 50% capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only.


Shrines are allowed to open at 50% capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only.

Amusement Parks

Allowed to open at 50% capacity for fully vaccinated people only.


There would be a complete ban on contact sports like karate, boxing, martial arts, water polo, kabaddi and wrestling.

Education sector

Schools will be allowed to open with 50% attendance (staggered days) for students below the age of 12 years. For students (fully vaccinated) over 12 years, the NCOC has recommended 100% attendance.

'Karachi expected to report 50% positivity ratio'

Last week, the federal health department officials predicted a change in Karachi's situation as the positivity ratio might hit 50%, leading to an increase in hospitalisations.

The officials also said that daily cases were expected to shoot up to 6,000.

Hospitalisations on the rise in Karachi

Moreover, a sudden rise in the hospitalisations of coronavirus patients set the alarm bells ringing in Karachi when two major health facilities of the city reported a record number of patients' admission, The News reported Wednesday.

Patients having difficulty in breathing and other issues related to coronavirus are being hospitalised in large numbers, the report said.

As of Tuesday, there were 82 patients admitted at Sindh Infectious Disease Hospital at NIPA Karachi, of which 32 were in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and seven on ventilators. The officials said among these patients, two were children under the age of 16.

Besides, officials at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) said they had over 50 patients in their Covid-19 treatment facility and said they were adding more beds as the number of infected patients was rising every hour.

Other hospitals said they too were witnessing a surge in hospitalisations of patients having symptoms of the infectious disease.