Karachi, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Pakistan has reported more than 7,000 COVID-19 cases in a single day, its highest daily number of infections since the pandemic began, as the South Asian nation imposes new restrictions to curb the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
At least 7,678 cases in the past 24 hours pushed the positivity ratio to 12.93 percent – the highest ever in the last two years – while 23 deaths were also reported in the last 24 hours, according to data from the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), which is overseeing the pandemic response, on Friday.
Karachi, the country’s largest city, recorded its highest ever positivity ratio of 46.58 percent in the last 24 hours.
“Amid rising trend of disease across the country a ban on indoor dinning in cities/districts with positivity above 10 percent has been imposed with effect from January 21,” said a notification issued by NCOC.
The government authorised booster vaccination shots for citizens over the age of 30. Vaccination of children over the age of 12 has been made mandatory to attend schools and children under 12 will go to schools at 50 percent attendance.
“We might see a peak after two weeks followed by a gradual decline,” Faisal Mahmood, associate professor of infections diseases at Aga Khan University Hospital, told Geo television channel on Friday morning.
He said the number of hospitalisations are rising, citing the ongoing wedding season for the rapid spread of the virus.
About 70 million people in Pakistan, or 32 percent of the population, have had two vaccine doses.
The infection numbers are lower compared with other countries, such as neighbouring India – but Pakistan tests 50 to 60 thousand people a day with a population of 220 million compared with India where about 1.9 million tests are being done per day.