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Pakistan reports 656 fresh COVID-19 cases

Pakistan on Monday registered 656 fresh COVID-19 cases and one coronavirus-related death

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Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday registered 656 fresh COVID-19 cases and one coronavirus-related death, as per the data by the country’s National Institute of Health (NIH).

With this, the COVID positivity rate in the country stood at 3.35%, ARY News reported citing the institution’s data. According to the NIH, 161 COVID-19 patients are being treated in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) across the country at different medical facilities.

With Pakistan continuously reporting hundreds of COVID-19 cases daily, the NIH has recommended strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), including mask wearing and social distancing during Muharram gatherings, reported ARY News.

The country on Sunday observed the first day of the month of Muharram to mark the beginning of the new Islamic year.
Further, NIH has imposed restrictions on the elderly and younger people attending the gatherings, as the risk of another outbreak increases due to the virus’s resurgence in the country.

 

It is pertinent to mention here that World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was worried that coronavirus case numbers were shooting up, putting more strain on health systems and workers.

The number of Covid cases reported to the WHO increased 30 per cent in the past two weeks, driven by sub-variants of the Omicron strain and the lifting of control measures, according to ARY News.

Experts said that the two sub-variants of the Omicron variant, namely BA.4 and BA.5, are responsible for the spread of COVID-19. They said that these variants have escape mutations that are giving them an edge.

According to the World Health Organization’s most recent report, it was behind 52 per cent of cases sequenced in late June, up from 37 per cent in one week. In the United States, it is estimated to be causing around 65 per cent of infections.

Experts also said that the sub-variants have also been infecting people who are already vaccinated or have already been infected with COVD-19, but no evidence is available to show if they are causing any severe disease among the vaccinated people, Geo News reported.
According to the website, BA.5, which is an omicron variant, is particularly good at evading the immune protection afforded either by vaccination or prior infection.

For this reason, “BA5 has a growth advantage over the other sublineages of Omicron that are circulating,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said as quoted by Geo News.

For many people, this means that they are getting re-infected, often even a short time after having COVID-19. Van Kerkhove said the WHO is assessing reports of re-infections.

“We have ample evidence that people who’ve been infected with Omicron are getting infected with BA5. No question about it,” said Gregory Poland, a virologist and vaccine researcher with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Amid fears of a new wave of coronavirus, experts advocated mask-wearing indoors in cities reporting cases that constitute over 5 per cent positivity.
They also stressed vigilant watch through good surveillance and testing, vaccination with emphasis on boosters and communication about rising risk, especially in urban settings.

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