Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who is also the chief of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), said on Monday that the government is gradually opening business activities as the positivity rate in the country has come down from 10-11% to 4%. Speaking to media after a session of the NCC, Umar said that seven million vaccines have been administered in Pakistan so far with 5.2m to 5.3m people vaccinated and the eventual goal by the year’s end is to reach 70m people. “According to our figures, more than 7m vaccine doses have been administered and some 5.2 to 5.3m people are included in this who have been vaccinated,” he said. Speaking about the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country, the federal minister said the strict but “timely decision” by the government to impose a lockdown in the last week of Ramazan and for Eidul Fitr had produced results and the spread of the disease had not only been stemmed but was seen to be continuously decreasing. He stressed, however, that the virus not been eliminated and that there was still a need to exercise caution since it was present at a “high level”. He added that it had come quite far below the previous high – the positivity rate had decreased from 10 to 11 per cent to around 4.5pc in the previous week. Umar noted, however, that the spread of Covid-19 was still more prevalent in Sindh so there was need for more caution. The federal minister said that previously, the government had been following the whole-of-government approach where government institutions had been working to tackle the disease but the next stage would be a “whole-of-nation approach where the whole nation would work together.” He said there was need for the nation to unite on the vaccination process as it had acted on precautions and standard operating procedures. Umar emphasised that the federal government would continue to provide free vaccines for all people who were eligible for vaccinations, but a big campaign would soon be launched to extend the vaccine’s reach to the people. Umar said Pakistan’s approach to tackling the coronavirus had been recognised and praised by the world while side-by-side keeping the economy and livelihoods afloat and now the government wanted to take similar exemplary action for the vaccination process. “We want that restrictions are completely finished, businesses open up, there are no negative effects on anyone’s livelihood and we can go towards a normal life. The NCC [meeting] has given approval for all this strategy,” said Umar, adding however that the success of the strategy was not contingent on the NCC’s decision but on the nation’s approval and participation. The national tally of total active Covid-19 cases was recorded at 59,033 on Monday, as 2,117 more people tested positive for the deadly virus and 1,919 people recovered from the disease. Forty-three patients died during past 24 hours, 41 of whom were under treatment in hospitals and in their respective quarantines or homes, according to the latest update issued by the NCOC. During the past 24 hours, most of the deaths occurred in Punjab followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Out of the total 43, 15 died during treatment on ventilators. There are 3,947 Covid infected patients under treatment in critical care in various Covid-dedicated healthcare facilities. The national Covid positivity ratio during past 24 hours was recorded at 4.05 percent. The maximum ventilators were occupied in four major areas including Peshawar 29 percent, Lahore 35 percent, Bahawalpur 32 percent and Multan 70 percent. The maximum oxygen beds are occupied in four major areas of Bahawalpur 35 percent, Swabi 41 percent, Karachi 37 percent and Multan 50 percent. Around 448 ventilators were occupied elsewhere in the country while no Covid-affected person is on ventilator in Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan.