Country reports 5285 new COVID-19 related fatalities with over 100+ death cases in past 24 hours
Pakistan on Friday reported 110 more deaths from COVID-19 as the third wave of coronavirus continues to take lives despite government restrictions to contain the virus.
According to Health Ministry data, most deaths were reported in the northeastern Punjab and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkwa provinces. With fresh casualties, the country’s overall death toll reached 17,190.
On Wednesday the country reported 135+ deaths followed by 188+ on Thursday, the highest single-day fatalities since June 2020.
Some 5,364 new infections were reported during past 24 hours, bringing the caseload to 745,182. In last 15 days of April alone, the country recorded over 72,000 cases.
The current number of active cases across the country is 78,425, while 650,775 patients have so far recovered.
Government and health officials warn that if the ongoing pace of infections continues for another two weeks, the situation may get worse, as the country’s already weak healthcare system is near saturation.
In several district hospitals, nearly 90% of ventilators and oxygen beds are already occupied, while some hospitals are turning away new patients as 100% of beds allocated for coronavirus patients are already taken, according to ministry officials
Pakistan is set to receive millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses from various countries in the coming weeks as to speed up its slow immunization campaign. So far, out of its population of 210 million, nearly 1.4 million people, including health professionals and people above 50 years old, have been inoculated.
By May Pakistan will receive 15 million doses of the vaccine from Germany under the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility meant to deliver vaccines to low- and middle-income countries – apart from procuring 7 million doses from China.
Beijing has provided over 1 million doses to Pakistan as a “gift,” and promised to provide another batch of 500,000 doses by the end of April.
The country is currently using China’s Sinopharm and CanSino vaccines in government hospitals.
Private hospitals in major cities have also started inoculation with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine imported by a pharmaceutical company.
The South Asian country has also approved emergency use of the UK’s AstraZeneca and China’s CoronaVac vaccines. Both vaccines, however, have yet to be administered.
On Wednesday, health authorities said that Pakistan will soon locally produce the CanSino COVID-19 vaccine with the help of China.
WHO’s chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urged the global community on Friday to donate COVID-19 vaccines to lower-income countries, citing the urgent need for 10 million doses for the COVAX vaccine distribution program.
“COVAX is ready to deliver but we can’t deliver vaccines we don’t have,” Tedros told a virtual news conference in Geneva.
“Bilateral deals, export bans and vaccine nationalism have caused distortions in the market with gross inequities in supply and demand,” Tedros said. “Ten million doses are not much and it’s not nearly enough.”
Vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19, and there are clear public health and lifesaving benefits to using the tools we already have. We must not put off getting vaccinated because of our concerns about new variants, and we must proceed with vaccination even if the vaccines may be somewhat less effective against some of the COVID-19 virus variants.
We need to use the tools we have in hand even while we continue to improve those tools. We are all safe only if everyone is safe.as