Karachi is witnessing a alarming surge in coronavirus cases during the fifth Covid-19 wave fuelled by Omicron variant, with positivity rate exceeding 39 per cent in the metropolis on Sunday. Out of 15,172 people who were tested for coronavirus, 2,670 came out positive in Sindh, according to the latest figures issued on Sunday. The city’s positivity rate has increased by 4% in a single day and Sindh’s Covid-19 death toll reached 7,697 after three more patients succumbed to the virus. Health officials expect the situation in Karachi to change in the coming week as the positivity ratio might hit 50%, leading to an increase in hospitalisations. The officials also said that daily cases were expected to shoot up to 6,000. Pakistan logged more than 4,000 Covid-19 cases for the second straight day, as Omicron continues to push infection rates countrywide amid the fifth wave, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data showed Sunday morning. As per the latest statistics, a total of 51,236 tests were conducted in the country on Saturday, of which 4,027 came back positive. The country’s positivity rate now stands at 7.8%. Meanwhile, nine more patients succumbed to the virus during the same period while the condition of 752 patients was critical. A day earlier, Pakistan had reported 4,286 daily COVID-19 cases – the highest number of cases since August 25, 2021. The positivity ratio also shot up to 8.16%, the highest since August 11, when 52,522 tests were conducted across the country, according to the NCOC data, says a news report. Meanwhile, the Sindh government has directed authorities to deduct one day’s salary of all government officials and employees who do not wear a face mask. The directives have been issued in view of the rising cases in the province. On Saturday, a meeting of the provincial coronavirus task force was chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House during which the Shah stated that officials who do not wear masks will face a fine. It was proposed that one day’s wage be deducted from the pay of any government employee who does not wear a mask in the workplace. Meanwhile, the Sindh health department has decided to conduct random coronavirus testing of students across all schools of the province. The provincial health department has also issued directives to district health officers (DHO) in this regard via notification. The notification stated that 100 samples will be collected from schools in each district of the province which will be sent to Dow Hospital laboratory to check disease prevalence. A day earlier, the Provincial Taskforce on Coronavirus meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was informed that infection rate had increased to 35.3% in Karachi, 5.12% in Hyderabad and 2.4% in the rest of the province. However, it was assured that the situation remained under control. The health department informed the meeting that at present, there was no pressure on the hospitals while Covid-19 patients were recovering fast and the death rate had fallen to 1.6%. CM Murad directed for an audit of all the public and private hospitals to assess their facilities like beds, doctors, medicines etc. The chief minister also directed the health department for the Covid-19 preparation plan so that necessary and timely measures could be taken. He added that he would review the Covid situation again within the next few days so that necessary decisions could be taken accordingly. Continuing with the alarming rise, the federal capital reported 366 new cases in the 24 hours, which was the highest single-day spike in almost the last three months. As many as 354 cases were reported on Saturday while 299 reported on Friday. So far, 110,963 cases have been reported from the federal capital, while 969 deaths have been reported from Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). As many as 107,969 patients have recovered completely. Meanwhile, on the direction of the Ministry of National Health Services, the district administration of Islamabad continued surveillance of different areas of the capital to reduce transmission of the infection. They also started taking action on violation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) while visiting marriage halls, markets, and petrol pumps by its inspection teams. The administration had been asked to take action on violation of SOPs at shops, workshops, and restaurants. The inspection teams had been directed to issue notices to marriage halls besides imposing fines on owners of different shops in case of violation of SOPs.