Pakistan not solely relying on COVID-19 vaccine gifts, donations: Prime Minister’s aide on health

pakistan covid troops
Army troops patrol a market to observe new restrictions announced by government to help control the spread of the coronavirus in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan is not solely reliant on donations or ‘vaccine gifts’ rather the country is pursuing a comprehensive purchase plan and in this regard, contracts have been signed with three companies to secure 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in coming days.

Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, said this at a media briefing on Tuesday after attending a meeting of the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC). Sultan urged the nation not to pay attention to negative propaganda or misinformation on social media regarding Pakistan’s slow procurement of vaccines.

“To say that the government is waiting to receive vaccines as gifts is not correct,” he said.

Various options under consideration to ensure oxygen supply

To a question regarding availability of oxygen in the country, Dr Sultan said a special committee of the NCOC was monitoring the oxygen situation in the country and efforts were underway to cope with the situation.

He asked the public to trust decisions taken by the NCOC adding the forum was working to increase the capacity of hospitals.

We are continuously monitoring the oxygen plants and additional sources of oxygen through additional plants, including revamping of Pakistan Steel Mills plant, are also under consideration, he said.

‘Eid tourism’ banned

Given a spike in coronavirus cases and severity of the third wave of COVID-19, the Ministry of Interior has slapped a ban on all kinds of tourism during Eid Al Fitr holidays.

The notification has been issued in accordance with the decisions taken during the special meeting of the NCOC on Tuesday.

The notification issued on Tuesday imposes the following restrictions:

• All tourist activities during Eid Al Fitr holidays are banned on May 8-16, 2021 including closure of tourist resorts, public parks, hotels in and around the tourist spots.

• Ban on travel (Inter-City and Inter-Provincial transport) during Eid holidays. However, residents of Gilgit Baltistan are allowed to travel.

• Travel nodes leading to tourist spots closed with focus on Murree, Galiyat, Swat-Kalam, Sea View, Beaches and Northern Areas etcetera.

142 deaths, 4,487 new cases in 24 hours

Pakistan on Tuesday reported 142 deaths and 4,487 confirmed cases of COVID-19 after 43,981 tests in the past 24 hours.

According to the Ministry of the National Health Services, the country’s active cases from Monday’s 88,698 to Tuesday’s 87,794 while the positivity rate remained 10.2 per cent.

With these latest additions, the country’s tally of cases stands at 804,939 with deaths at 17,329.