LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Shahbaz Sharif again tested positive for coronavirus, PML-N spokesperson, Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed Wednesday, as the country battles a fifth wave of the pandemic.
News of Shahbaz testing positive comes as active coronavirus cases in country shot up from 39.881 to 44,717in the last 24 hours, the highest since October 6, according to official figures.
The positivity ratio at 9.48% registered in the country as 5,472 new cases were detected after 57,669 tests were conducted, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the forum leading Pakistan’s COVID response, said.
Shahbaz Sharif, a cancer survivor, had last tested positive in June 2020, is now isolating at home and resting as per his doctor’s advice, Miss Aurangzeb said in a statement.
She added, “Shahbaz Sharif has asked the masses and PML-N workers to pray for his health.”
In recent days, President Arif Alvi and Federal Minister Education Shafqat Mehmood had tested positive for coronavirus again as well. The president has recovered from the virus six days after testing positive.
The Director General of health, Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar had warned that coronavirus infections are doubling every week on average and could pressurize the country’s healthcare system in two weeks’ time.
Eight new deaths pushed the death toll to 29,037, while new infections have taken the caseload to 1.34 million, the NCOC’s data showed.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said, it has emerged that new variant Omicron of the coronavirus cases are “the highest in Karachi, especially in school going children.”
Furthermore, a 30% increase in admissions to intensive care units has been witnessed, Chaudhry added.
Citing the importance of vaccinations, he had said, Omicron has shown a “negligible effect” on people who are fully vaccinated (having received two doses) and those who have even received booster shots.
“And where there have been no vaccinations, the effect is very pronounced,” the minister had noted.
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), meanwhile, has expressed concerns regarding the worsening coronavirus situation in the country.
The medical body, in a statement, demanded the government immediately impose a ban on political rallies, sit-ins, and other public gatherings.
Further aggravation of the coronavirus situation across the country in the next two to three weeks also warned by the association and said that there is a risk that the Omicron variant could become more deadly.
While the incessant rise in the COVID-19 infections in Karachi owing to the Omicron variant outbreak, the coronavirus positivity ratio of the megacity crossed 40%, the federal health ministry officials said Wednesday.
As many as 2,902 new infections were detected overnight in the metropolis when 7,232 diagnostic tests were performed, officials said.
The new infections pushed the city’s positivity rate to 40.13% – highest since the pandemic begin.
Local media reported a sudden rise in the hospitalisations of coronavirus patients set the alarm bells ringing in when two major health facilities of the city reported a record number of patients’ admission, Patients having difficulty in breathing and other issues related to coronavirus are being hospitalised in large numbers.
There were 82 patients admitted at Sindh Infectious Disease Hospital at NIPA, of which 32 were in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and seven on ventilators on Tuesday. The officials said among these patients, two were children under the age of 16.
Officials at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) said, they had over 50 patients in their Covid-19 treatment facility and said they were adding more beds as the number of infected patients was rising every hour.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 claimed six more lives in Sindh during the last 24 hours. Most of the deaths were reported from Karachi.
Seven more cities in the country reported a positivity ratio higher than 10%, the officials added.
Muzaffarabad’s positivity rate stood at 21%, followed by Lahore with 15.15%, Hyderabad 14%, Islamabad 12%, Peshawar 11% and Rawalpindi at 10.26%.