A woman receives a dose of Sinovac vaccine at a centre in Karachi. AFP
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan has decided to slightly relax restrictions, put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the third wave of the virus, from June 15 onwards.
Federal Minister Asad Umar, who heads the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), told reporters that Pakistan achieved the milestone of administering 10,000,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to people on Wednesday. "We aim to increase this to achieve the target of vaccinating 70 million people by December 2021.”
Umar said the government's decisions to curb the virus were proving "effective" during the third wave of the pandemic. "The more quickly we get ourselves vaccinated, the faster we will be able to rid ourselves of this menace," he said, requesting people to get themselves vaccinated so that businesses could reopen and life could return to its normal state in Pakistan.
The minister said that while it was an impressive achievement, the government wanted to expedite the vaccination campaign.
The NCOC chief said Pakistan was administering an estimated 300,000 doses on a daily basis against the coronavirus, adding that more than 300,000 people were registering for the vaccine on a daily basis.
Umar gave the government and the masses a pat on the back for following coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) due to which a visible decline in the number of cases could be seen.
He said the government's efforts against the coronavirus were proving effective during the third wave of the pandemic. "We have seen that when Pakistanis, as a nation, decide to do something, then they do it," he said.
The NCOC said the coronavirus vaccines will be mandatory for all public and private sector employees, adding that government employees must be fully vaccinated by June 30.
Meanwhile, after the UK variant made inroads into various cities of the country, Pakistan has reported its first confirmed patient carrying the Indian strain.
"We expect the first 10,000 doses to come on March 25, and 100,000 next month and 200,000 the month after," said Hassan Abbas, an official of AJ Pharma, CanSino's local partner, which will be importing the vaccine.
China has pledged to donate 500,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine made by the Chinese firm SinoPharm. Two government sources said the first batch would be flown in on Saturday. Pakistan reported 1,563 new coronavirus infections and 74 deaths in the latest 24-hour period.
According to the NCOC data, Pakistan will receive 5.6m doses by the end of March, with 2.8m doses of Gavi/Covax expected in the first week of next month and another 2.8m doses by the second week. In all, 17.1m doses will reach Pakistan by the end of June.
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