COVID Watch | 8th January 2021

48 succumbed to to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours while 3,313 recovered against reports of 2,435 fresh infections; the Ministry of National Health Services has stated that the first shipment of coronavirus vaccine will arrive in Pakistan by the end of January; Chinese state-owned SinoPharm vaccine expected to complete its Phase III clinical trials this month as just 1,000 of 18,000 volunteers remain.


COVID-19 situation update

48 succumbed to the novel coronavirus disease while 3,313 patients recovered on Thursday, January 7. 2,435 new infections were reported in the same time frame at a case positivity rate of 6.35%, taking total active cases in the country to 33,124.

Punjab reported 18 deaths with Sindh following with 17 COVID-19 casualties. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa suffered eight losses, Islamabad Capital Territory three, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir two. The death toll for the new year now stands at 383 with an average of 54 deaths per day in the past week.

15,332 infections have emerged since January 1 while 16,599 have managed to beat the disease in the same period. In the past week, an average of 2,190 new infections and 2,371 recoveries were reported daily.

First vaccine consignment to reach Pakistan by month’s end

Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of National Health Services Dr. Nausheen Hamid stated that the first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines will arrive in Pakistan by the end of January. However, she did not specify which vaccine would arrive.

However, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry took to microblogging site Twitter to announce that the federal cabinet has confirmed that the 1.2 million vials of China’s state-owned SinoPharm vaccine will be initially purchased for free inoculation of frontline healthcare workers in the first phase of the government’s vaccination plan. Moreover, he stated that the private sector can import any other internationally approved vaccine.

The SinoPharm vaccine, which is being developed under the CanSinoBIO joint venture between Canada and China, is nearing completion of its phase three clinical trials. About 17,000 of 18,000 volunteers have received doses of the experimental vaccine, and will be monitored to determine the efficacy of the drug as well as any apparent side effects.

While the vaccine has yet to reach Pakistan, the federal and provincial governments are going ahead with finalising its vaccination program. On the national level, the government is preparing a database of all private and public sector healthcare professionals for phase one of the vaccination drive.