COVID-19 surge worries govt, NCOC issues new guidelines

March 16, 2023

New guidelines will remain in place till April 30

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Women wear masks as they walk outside a market, amid a rise in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Karachi on June 29, 2022. — INP

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Thursday advised citizens to mask up in “crowded tightly enclosed spaces” as the trend of cases saw an uptick.

“Amid the current COVID-19 disease trends across the country, NCOC recommended guidelines for the period up to 30 April 2023,” the National Institute of Health (NIH) said on Twitter quoted.

The NCOC advised people to wear masks in "crowded tightly enclosed spaces including healthcare facilities".

The guideline comes after the countrywide positivity ratio climbed to 2.98%. At least 14 patients are in critical care.

As per the NIH, 4,334 tests were conducted countrywide in the last 24 hours and 129 returned positive.

In January this year, Pakistan confirmed the presence of one of the three dominant strains of COVID-19 in China and Omicron's subvariant XBB's presence.

“Genomic surveillance is underway at NIH Islamabad. However, due to low positivity, only a few samples are available for sequencing. Our last batch showed increased cases of Omicron XBB,” an official of the NIH Islamabad said.

NIH officials also reiterated that there is no imminent threat of any major COVID-19 wave in Pakistan. However, we are continuously monitoring the situation and prepared for any situation, they added.

On the other hand, scientists at Aga Khan University also confirmed to The News that they had detected and reported the XBB sub-variant of the Omicron variant to the authorities in the country but added that they had not yet seen other two sub-variants, including BF.7 in the country.

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