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‘No truth in reports of COVID-19 high infection rate among children’

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) head Asad Umar has said that 1.3 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Pakistan and the vaccination process will be expedited after the Eid festival, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

The NCOC head and Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar said that the authorities had witnessed a hike in coronavirus cases one month ago and started spotting the affected districts for detection of UK variant of the virus. After a thorough investigation, the spread of the British variant was confirmed by the health authorities.

Umar said that the UK variant of COVID-19 has spread across the region during the third wave of the pandemic. He praised the media for playing an important role in making people aware of the latest developments since the very first day of the pandemic.

The NCOC head said that many reports regarding the COVID-19 high infection rate among children are ‘wrong’.

The minister expressed disappointment that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) against COVID-19 have not complied in the country. He said that the administration is now adopting tougher measures during the last 10 days to contain the spread of the virus.

Read: Pakistan to get 4mn doses of CanSino vaccine till month-end: Asad Umar

He said that the infection rate has visibly reduced due to the recent steps and asked nationals to take precautionary measures for the next two weeks. He added that the positivity rate of COVID-19 cases could be increased due to crowded markets.

Regarding the vaccination drive, the federal minister said that the process is underway and will be expedited after the Eid festival. He said that the number of vaccines is not enough to meet the demand across the globe.

It is impossible to administer coronavirus vaccines to billions of people at the same time, he added. Umar said that all countries are trying to procure vaccines for their citizens.

In Pakistan, more than 1.3 million people have been inoculated so far. Pakistan has the availability of 0.9 million vaccines till Monday night and 60,000 to 70,000 nationals are being vaccinated on a daily basis. The federal government has continued its efforts to make COVID-19 vaccines available in the country, said Umar.

Read: Govt notifies Covid vaccination centres’ timing for Ramazan

Umar further detailed that 1.3 million people were given free-of-cost vaccines and only 13,000 people got COVID-19 jabs privately.

Elderly citizens are more vulnerable to the pandemic, however, the vaccines would be made available for all nationals after Eid. He asked citizens to keep registering themselves for the vaccination. He admitted that out-of-turn use of the vaccines was witnessed by some people, especially in a province.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had contracted coronavirus before being administered the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is effective against all COVID variants from UK, South Africa and Brazil. He clarified that the vaccines are being used according to their initial results and the final results will have emerged within five to six months.

The federal government has allocated $350 million for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine and $150 million has been spent so far. He further said that the health sector is the matter of provinces after the 18th amendment.

Asad Umar said that the budget will be discussed in today’s federal cabinet meeting and recommendations will be tabled before the members.

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