COVID-19 positivity rate nears 4% as Pakistan reports nine deaths
- Pakistan reports 806 cases of COVID-19.
- The positivity rate climbs to 3.85%.
- The NIH advises Pakistanis to wear masks at Muharram rallies.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reported 806 new cases of COVID-19 and nine coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, according to data from the National Institute of Health (NIH) on Wednesday morning.
In the past 24 hours, a total of 20,949 diagnostic tests for COVID-19 were performed, of which 806 samples came back positive, according to data from the institution.
Following the detection of new cases, the COVID-19 positivity rate stood at 3.85%, compared to 2.84% recorded the previous day.
According to NIH data, 160 COVID-19 patients are being treated in intensive care units (ICUs) across the country at different medical facilities.
Pakistanis asked to wear masks
With Pakistan recording hundreds of COVID-19 cases every day, the NIH advised strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), including mask-wearing and social distancing at Muharram gatherings.
Rallies and majalis to remember the Shuhada-e-Karbala (Martyrs of Karbala) have started as the country observes the Islamic New Year – which began on Sunday July 31.
What are the SOPs for Muharram?
The NIH has banned the elderly and children from attending gatherings and majalis during Ashura in a COVID-safe manner as the risk of another outbreak looms with the virus surging across Pakistan .
Here are the guidelines for holding rallies and processions
- COVID-19 standard operating procedures, i.e. wearing a mask, social distancing, and use of hand sanitizers/washing, must be followed
- Organizing Committees must make arrangements for all SOPs
- Zakirs and participants must be vaccinated against COVID-19
- The driving place of the Majalis must be open and spacious with
- ventilation devices
- Wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing are compulsory during majalis and processions. Availability of masks and sanitizers/hand washing
- Participation controlled according to the capacity of the places and the avoidance of overcrowding
- The duration of majalis and processions should be reduced
- Majalis where SOPs cannot be effectively implemented, such as
- private homes and gatherings should be discouraged
- People over the age of 65, children and comorbids can be sensitized to
- attend Majalis at home thanks to live streaming
- Proper arrangements to clean venues with chlorine before and after events
- Posting of SOPs and COVID-19 precautions in prominent places
- Compliance with SOPs by employing volunteer scouts
- Provisions for food and drink in a spacious and ventilated area.
- Emphasis on the use of disposable utensils; preference to prepackaged boxes for food distribution.
- Avoid overcrowding at food distribution points/places.
- No handshake or hug.
Areas of interest
Some of the aspects deserving of necessary actions at the level of federal and federated units are the following:
- Messaging by clerics for uniform implementation of SOPs/guidelines proposed by NCOC.
- Strict application of SOPs by civil administration.