Gulf Today

Virus claims 149 lives, deaths top 16,000

- Tariq Butt / NNI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan starts COVID-19 vaccinatio­n of people in the 50-59 age group from April 21 with the coronaviru­s claiming another 149 lives in the last 24 hours.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) said the coronaviru­s-related deaths have surpassed the figure of 16,000 while the number of active cases has swelled to 79,108 with 4,984 patients admited to hospitals.

Meanwhile, the government is negotiatin­g with multilater­al institutio­ns to secure a $335 million loan for the procuremen­t of COVID-19 vaccines but the money cannot be spent on buying Chinese-origin vaccines.

The government has approached the World Bank and the Asian Developmen­t Bank ( ADB) for geting loans to procure the vaccines, officials said.

The ADB has been requested to provide a $200 million loan out of $500 million that it indicated to give to Pakistan for vaccine procuremen­t. Pakistan has also negotiated a $135 million loan that the Washington-based lender would divert from the $200 million troubled project.

The data shared by the NCOC showed that with over 100 deaths for five continuous days, the number of overall deaths has risen to 16,094.

It was the fith straight day when more than 100 deaths were reported and the positivity ratio reached 7.6 per cent.

There were 520 ventilator­s in use of COVID-19 patients across the country. Over 80 per cent ventilator­s allocated for COVID-19 patients were in use in three cities of Punjab i.e. Gujranwala,

Lahore and Multan and 55 per cent in Khyber Pakhtun-khwa’s city of Mardan.

The data further showed a dismal situation of oxygenated beds as in Swabi 100 per cent beds were in use while Charsadda’s 89 per cent and Gujranwala’s 85 per cent beds were in use. Only 22 per cent of the beds were vacant in Peshawar.

Federal Minister Asad Umar, who is incharge of the NCOC, encouraged people to register for the vaccinatio­n.

Meanwhile, the federal government announced that matriculat­ion and intermedia­te (9-12) level physical classes would commence in effected districts in a staggered manner and under strict COVID-19 SOPS from Monday.

This permission has been given to allow students to prepare for their Board Examinatio­ns. However, the schools from class 1-8 would remain closed till Eid Al Fitr and will continue online mode of education.

 ?? Agence France-presse ?? ↑
Workers of the Saylani Welfare Trust prepare Iftar food plates in Karachi on Saturday.
Agence France-presse ↑ Workers of the Saylani Welfare Trust prepare Iftar food plates in Karachi on Saturday.

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