ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s health ministry on Saturday reported four deaths from coronavirus, the highest single-day fatalities since March 31, as the South Asian nation once again witnesses a spike in COVID-19 infections.
The national COVID positivity ratio rose to 4.47 percent in the last 24 hours, nearly double the number at the start of the week on Monday, according to data shared by the National Institute of Health (NIH), which oversees the country’s pandemic response.
Health authorities conducted 18,305 coronavirus tests in the last 24 hours, of which 818 turned out to be positive. Over 120 patients are currently in critical care across the country.
On Friday, Pakistani Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel called on the public to take precautionary measures as coronavirus cases once again rise in the country, calling masks “essential” during the upcoming Eid Al-Adha holiday and urging people not to shake hands and hug.
“We must take precautionary measures against coronavirus and ensure social distancing,” Patel said in a statement. “Mask wearing is essential during the time of Eid-Al-Adha and avoid going to crowded places.”
Pakistan on Thursday issued fresh standard operating procedures (SOPs) for government offices.
The NIH in a notification urged government employees to avoid shaking hands and mandated wearing face masks and incorporating social distancing in seating plans and during prayers.
Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) last week again made it mandatory for all passengers on domestic flights to wear masks. Authorities are also urging eligible individuals to get booster shots of coronavirus vaccine.
Pakistan disbanded the National Command and Operations Center, its main pandemic response body, on March 31 as infections fell to the lowest since the outbreak began in 2020.
However, the South Asian country on May 23 reconstituted the NCOC at the NIH after health officials detected a new omicron sub-variant in a passenger arriving from Qatar. The new sub-variant of omicron is said to be highly infectious, though not as deadly as previous coronavirus strains.