COVID-19 positivity rate nears 4% as Pakistan reports nine deaths

A file photo of people wearing masks line up to receive COVID-19 injections. Photo: file
  • 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

Miscellaneous aspects

  • 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.

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