A doctor receives the Chinese-made Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine at a medical centre in Karachi. File
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan Federal Minister Asad Umar announced on Monday that the government would start administering COVID-19 vaccine to the citizens of 65 and above from next month.
"Pleased to announce that registration for getting Covid vaccine is now open for all citizens 65 and above. Just write down [yo]ur CNIC number and send message on 1166. Inshallah vaccinations for this age group will start in March,” he said in a tweet.
The minister is the overall in-charge of the government’s campaign against the coronavirus and heads the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
The government has already allowed private parties to import vaccines and administer to the people on the commercial basis.
Meanwhile, the number of active cases in Pakistan has reduced by half in two-and-a-half months. They had surpassed the 50,000 mark in December 2020 but started decreasing the following month, officials said.
This is the second time that active cases have been on the decline, as earlier the number of active cases had started dropping during the first wave of Covid-19 after crossing the 50,000 mark in June 2020. The number of active cases kept decreasing the following months and finally reached below 6,000 in September.
However, their number began growing again to have reached 11,190 on Oct.27 and 30,362 on Nov.18, following which the government officially announced the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic. The active cases kept rising and surpassed the 50,000 mark in December.
With the renewed measures intended to flatten the curve, active cases have been on the decline since December and reduced by half at present.
According to the NCOC, 1,404 cases and 31 deaths were reported due to Covid-19 in a single day, bringing the total number of active cases across the country to 25,635. Of them, only 2,125 patients are under treatment at hospitals. The NCOC data shows that 264 coronavirus patients have been put on ventilators.
Pakistan will soon receive 17 million doses of the UK-developed Oxford University-Astra-Zeneca vaccine, with delivery of the first consignment of 7m doses expected before April through the Covax facility. The next 10m doses will come later, likely before June. This will help protect 8.5m people from the virus.
According to a statement issued by British High Commission, the United Kingdom’s world-leading support to Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (Covax) will help Pakistan in its Covid-19 vaccination programme.
"So far, the UK has committed £548m to the global Covax initiative, making the UK the largest single donor. The Covax initiative is the key way that more than 180 countries will have fair, early access to Covid-19 vaccines. The UK has also encouraged other countries to contribute over $1 billion to Covax,” it stated.
Following an EU summit, French President Emmanuel Macron said there was a "new type of world war," adding: "We are looking in particular at Russian and Chinese attacks and attempts to gain influence through the vaccine."
Crossing the four million does mark comes as result of the efforts made at the country level to contain the pandemic, the Ministry of Health and Prevention announced on Friday.
The availability of vaccines is one of the biggest achievements of UAE. To all for free and in various centers, which requires everyone to take the vaccine to achieve the goal of covering 50% of UAE's population in the 1st quarter of 2021.
Despite concerns over fairness and higher prices, Islamabad agreed this week to allow the commercial import and sale of vaccines without price caps, in contrast to most countries, which are importing and administering vaccines through government channels.
The KHDA tweeted on Friday, “Because of the help and cooperation of parents, educators and students, PE classes, gatherings, trips and extracurricular activities will be resumed as of Jan.31.”
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