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Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan's Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar announced on Tuesday that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) headed by him has decided to start inoculating children who are 12 years and older against the coronavirus in a bid to build herd immunity against COVID-19.
"A special drive will be run for vaccination at schools to make it easier for children to be vaccinated," he said.
Currently Pakistan is offering free jabs to teens and adults. The latest development comes hours after Pakistan reported 41 deaths from coronavirus and 1,400 new cases in the past 24 hours.
It is the first time since July that Pakistan reported less than 1,500 single-day confirmed cases amid the fourth wave which authorities believe has subsided.
The highest number of new cases were reported from Punjab at 574, followed by 535 in Sindh and 143 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The total number of cases is 1,241,825, and the positivity rate is 3.1 per cent. Meanwhile, 41 more coronavirus-related fatalities have taken the death toll to 27,638.
According to NCOC statistics, the country administered 961,340 COVID-19 doses on Monday. So far, Pakistan has administered 79,531,641 doses. "Non-vaccinated people will be facing various restrictions from Oct.1! Get yourself completely vaccinated immediately!" the NCOC warned.
The government had allowed citizens above the age of 17 to get vaccinated from Sept.1. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan had announced that these adolescents would have to be fully vaccinated by Oct.15 in order to enter educational institutions.
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.
In the meantime, after reducing the number of inbound flights to 20 per cent as part of measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 from May 5 to 20, Pakistan has also slashed the number of foreign airlines’ flights to 120 per week.
"The forum reviewed the implementation of SOPs during Eid holidays and expressed its satisfaction. It also appreciated the efforts of all stakeholders, especially the cooperation rendered by the public across the country..."
Rauf said 11 children had been rescued from the water, with six in critical condition. The boat was carrying between 25 and 30 students on a daytrip from a local madrassa when it overturned.
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