ISLAMABAD: Accelerating the pace of vaccinations, Pakistan hit a target on Tuesday to vaccinate one million people a day against Covid-19, making strides in the inoculation campaign just weeks away from a deadline for workers in public-facing roles to obtain vaccination certificates.
The government announced last week that from the end of this month that workers in schools, shopping malls and hospitality businesses, and the transport and air travel industries would be barred from entering public offices unless they had a certificate.
“Happy to report that the target we had set for 1 million vaccinations in a day was crossed,” Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, also the minister in-charge for Covid-19 operations, said in a tweet.
Happy to report that the target we had set for 1 million vaccinations in a day was crossed yesterday with 10 lakh 72 thousand vaccinations. All federating entities contributed with punjab, sind, kp and Islamabad all doing record numbers. Amazing performance by all involved
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) August 3, 2021
The development follows a significant decrease in the number of fresh infections as the country logged 3,582 coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours compared to 4,858 cases on Monday, and 5,026 on Sunday, according to the Health Ministry data.
With the new infections, the overall case count reached over 1 million with 944,375 recoveries.
Pakistan has seen soaring coronavirus infections, fuelled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, putting its poor health infrastructure under extreme pressure. Officials say more than 70 percent of new cases are Delta variant infections.
The death toll climbed to 23,529 with another 67 fatalities due to the virus in the past 24 hours.
Out of a population of 220 million, more than 31 million have received one vaccine shot, but only 6.7 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the National Command and Operations Centre.
After a sluggish start to the inoculation campaign, the new requirement for certificates of vaccination has led to a rush of people seeking shots, with queues stretching over a kilometre outside some vaccination centres, notably in Karachi.
The Sindh government has put extra pressure on people to get vaccinated, warning that it would withhold the salaries of government servants and block people’s cell phone SIM cards unless they had the required certificates.
Around 23 percent of people being tested for COVID-19 in Karachi during recent days were found to have the virus, while nationwide the positive test rate stood just over 7 percent, according to the NCOC.
Meanwhile, the government has relaxed the requirement of holding a national identity card for vaccination, allowing people to get their jabs by showing any valid ID.
50PC OF ISLAMABAD’S ELIGIBLE POPULATION VACCINATED:
In a related development, Umar said Islamabad had become the first city in Pakistan with a population of over one million whose 50 percent eligible population had received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot.
“Islamabad has become the first city in Pak[istan] with a population of 1 million or more to get 50 percent of its eligible population vaccinated with at least one dose,” he said in a tweet.
Islamabad has become the first city in Pak with a population of 1 million or more to get 50% of its eligible population vaccinated with at least one dose. Peshawar and pindi 35%, faislabad 28%, lahore/gujranwala /sialkot/sargodha 27%, karachi 26%, hyderabad 25%.
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) August 3, 2021
“Peshawar and Rawalpindi 35 percent; Faisalabad 28 percent; Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Sargodha 27 percent; Karachi 26 percent and Hyderabad 25 percent.”
On Monday, the minister had announced new coronavirus restrictions, including that indoor dining at restaurants would be banned and markets would be closed two days a week.
“We have to protect the health of the people as well as their jobs,” he said, announcing that market hours would be reduced from 10:00 pm to 8:00 pm and shops would remain closed two days a week.
“It has been decided to close indoor dining, the takeaway facility will be available 24 hours a day,” Umar said, adding offices and public transportation would function at 50 percent capacity.
TWO MILLION DOSES ARRIVE FROM CHINA:
Yet another consignment of two million jabs of an undisclosed coronavirus vaccine reached Islamabad from Beijing.
A special flight of the Pakistan International Airlines PK-6853 arrived at 12:15 pm carrying the stock.
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