KARACHI - Health authorities and doctors have raised alarm over the rising positivity ratio of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country, particularly in Ka-rachi where some 57 cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours with a positivi-ty ratio of 8.04 percent.

Doctors have expressed the fear that unless arrested through emergency measures, the rising positivity ratio could lead to an overloading of hospi-tals soon.

Data released by the national and Sindh health authorities showed that as many as 5,361 people have tested for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours of which 102 have tested positive with an overall positivity ratio of 1.9%.

Of the new cases, the document showed that most patients were tested in Lahore with 1,388 of which 19 people tested positive, putting a positivity ratio at 1.37%.

It was followed by Islamabad, where 971 tests were conducted of which 20 re-turned as positive, with a positivity ratio of 2.06%. Karachi was third with 709 people tested but 57 people were confirmed as Covid-19 positive. The city’s positivity ratio stood at 8.04%. With cases being confirmed in both Karachi and Hyderabad, the health officials have raised an alarm.

A letter from the Aga Khan University Hospital issued on Tuesday noted that the positivity ratio for Covid-19 tests at their lab were exceeding 30%. It added that hospital admissions for Covid-19 were also increasing with a local-ised outbreak on the campus.

Based on this the hospital has once again made it mandatory to wear masks in all indoor spaces while also recommending masks for outdoor spaces, especially where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Moreover, the university made a second booster - comprising mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) - mandatory for all students and staff.

Further restrictions include half capacity for sports and recreation, with on-ly active players exempt from wearing masks.

Late on Tuesday, doctors aligned under the national body Pakistan Medical As-sociation (PMA) expressed concerns over the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country in general and in Karachi and Hyderabad in particular where they said the positivity ratio was 10.08% and 16.67% consecutively.

They noted that the positivity ratio was rising in Islamabad and other cities as well.

PMA Secretary General Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad said that the surge in Covid-19 cas-es was due to negligence in adopting preventive measures such as social dis-tancing and wearing masks. “People are mostly seen without masks at markets, social gatherings, wedding ceremonies, family get-togethers, at public transport and malls,” he said in the note.

Without adhering to SOPs, the cases will continue to rise and God forbid we can again face the difficult situation.

The medical expert noted that another reason for the increase in positivity was apathy towards the booster dose.

“According to our sources so far, approximately 15,000,000 people have got booster doses which are not up to the mark,” he said. “The effectiveness of the vaccine is decreasing due to time-lapse and the only way out is to administer booster doze,” he said.

The PMA suggested that the public resume stringent adherence to SOPs.

“Always wear a mask, keep social distancing and wash or sanitize your hands with proper intervals.”

The association further suggested that those who have just gotten two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine immediately get a booster dose to avoid the virus.

The government was also urged to take steps to counter misconceptions regard-ing the vaccine, and to wear masks.