People advised to mask up in ‘crowded’ places amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Masked people walk in a market amid the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan. Photo: AFP

As a proportion of the positivity of Corona Virus With cases in the country hovering around 3 percent, the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) on Thursday advised citizens to wear masks in “crowded places.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said, citing the NCOC, that “wearing a mask is recommended in crowded tightly closed spaces, including health care facilities.”

The NIH said the decision was made by the NCOC due to current COVID-19 disease trends across the country. It added that the guidelines will remain in place till April 30.

The directive came after positive ration reached 2.98 percent across the country. At least 14 patients are in critical condition.

According to NIH, 4,334 tests were conducted across the country in the last 24 hours and 129 came positive.

In January this year, Pakistan confirmed the presence of one of the three dominant strains of COVID-19 in China and A subtype of omicron Presence of XBB.

Genomic surveillance continues 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,” said an official at NIH Islamabad.

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

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

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