Alarm in Pakistan at record virus surge amid poor vaccine response

COVID 19 vaccine

dpa/GNA – Pakistani authorities on Thursday put more coronavirus hotspots under lockdown and warned people to take caution as the country witnessed the highest number of new daily infections this year amid a poor response to the vaccination drive.

At least 3,495 people were infected with Covid-19 on Wednesday, the highest number this year, with 61 deaths, official statistics released on Thursday showed.

Pakistan last week announced the spread of the more contagious British strain had triggered a third wave of the pandemic, closed schools and reintroduced some restrictions in the densely populated cities.

“We now think the situation is heading to worse,” said Asad Umar, a federal minister who is leading the country’s response to the pandemic.

Officials have put many more virus hotspots in cities under a micro-lockdown with the movement of people restricted, Umar said.

The new surge was recorded amid a poor response by health workers and elderly people to an ongoing vaccination drive open for them.

Pakistan has received 1 million doses of vaccines from its neighbour and political ally China as a donation and was expecting more under an international cooperation plan.

But a survey conducted at the start of the year had revealed around half of the citizens were sceptical of the vaccines and would not go for a jab.

More than 600,000 infections have been reported in Pakistan in total so far, with deaths approaching 14,000.

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