COVID Watch | 6th January 2021

NCOC notifies Sindh that vaccine consignments previously expected to reach the province by January 15 will be delayed; samples of five UK returnees to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sent to NIH to determine presence of B.1.1.7 variant that emerged in the UK recently; federal cabinet approves relaxation of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority to acquire vaccine from either of six firms registered with the NIH.


Vaccines in Sindh may be delayed

Sindh Health Minister Azra Pechuho stated that the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) has notified the Sindh government that there will be a delay in delivering the vaccine to the province, stated Sindh Health Minister Azra Pechuho on Tuesday, January 5. Earlier the vaccines were slated to be arrive in the province in from January 15 onwards.

In the meanwhile, she assured that the provincial government is moving ahead with an action plan at the district level, which would be extended to smaller centers when a system is in place.

Samples of 5 UK returnees to be tested for new strain

Five people recently returned from the UK to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were found positive for COVID-19, and their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Health to determine if the patients were infected with the mutated B.1.1.7 variant which emerged in the UK late last year. The KP health department stated that their testing kits are only able to detect the virus and not ascertain the strain.

The NCOC had issued a list of 103 potentially infected returnees to the KP health department, however only 47 were successfully traced and tested of whom five were found to be virus-positive. The remaining individuals, who were listed as permanent residents of KP, could not be traced as they could likely be in other provinces.

Government relaxes vaccine procurement rules

The federal government in a cabinet meeting presided by Prime Minister Imran Khan approved relaxations in the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules for COVID-19 vaccines. The government has given a go-ahead for purchase of vaccine vials developed by CanSinoBIO, as it is the only firm among six registered with the National Institute of Health to complete all testing requirements. The vaccines will be procured on a single-bid basis on “humanitarian grounds”.