KARACHI: The metropolis recorded a COVID-19 positivity ratio of over 20% in the last 24 hours while the national caseload witnessed a minor surge during the past few days, government data showed Thursday.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 268 new cases were reported in the country when 12,513 tests were conducted, taking the positivity ratio to 2.14% — the highest since March 05 when a 2% ratio was recorded.
Meanwhile, 75 patients were in critical care across Pakistan while one person succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours.
Karachi, the country’s financial hub, is witnessing a sharp rise in new infections and detected 138 cases when 650 samples were tested, taking the city’s positivity rate to 21.23%.
The second most affected city is Abbotabad, where the positivity rate is 8.7%.
In a meeting at the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday, the health authorities discussed the prevailing situation in detail.
While chairing the meeting, Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel advised all provinces and regions to administer booster doses on a priority basis to further improve protection against COVID-19 transmission.
Experts advise to follow COVID-19 guidelines
Health experts and officials in Karachi also confirmed a slight but steady increase in hospitalisation due to COVID-19, saying mostly elderly people who were not vaccinated had been testing positive for the contagious disease after they were brought to public and private health facilities in the city with fever and respiratory distress.
Officials at some private hospitals in Karachi said that the positivity ratio of cases at some hospital labs was double compared to the ratio being reported by the NIH for Karachi.
They said the hospitalisation of patients infected with COVID-19 had been increasing with each passing day.
Infectious diseases expert Dr Faisal Mahmood told The News that two sub-variants of the Omicron variant were responsible for the increase in COVID-19 cases in Karachi. He advised people to take precautionary measures including wearing masks and staying away from crowded places.
Urging people to get booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, he said those who were unvaccinated or who had not completed their vaccination were more at risk of contracting the disease.