Islamabad: Pakistan on Sunday reported its highest single-day coronavirus spike this year with over 6,000 new cases and about 149 deaths, as the country struggled to speed up its vaccination programme.
The previous highest surge was recorded last year on June 20 when the country reported 6,825 infections and 153 deaths.
The country on Sunday reported 6,127 new cases, pushing the country’s infection tally to 756,285. The death toll rose to 16,243 with 149 more fatalities.
As the new cases shot up, the government announced that it will start vaccinating people in the 50-59 age group from April 21.
Previously, the immunisation drive was restricted to people above 60 years.
More than 1.3 million people have been vaccinated so far, which is just a fraction of the over 220 million population of Pakistan.
The vaccination drive in the country began on February 2 but it remains slow due to vaccine availability issues.
Covid Vaccine Global Access (COVAX), an international initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines, was to supply around 17 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine by end of March.
However, COVAX later told the government that the vaccine would be supplied by June 30.
Now, Pakistan is expecting to get 15 million doses from COVAX next month.
Following my meeting with Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas, I am happy to announce that Pakistan will receive 15 million doses of the #COVID vaccine under COVAX, with a commitment for these to be delivered by May, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted.
Currently, the country is mostly dependent on China for the COVID-19 vaccine. Some private companies have imported a limited number of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia.