There was finally some good news internationally on coronavirus developments when it was announced early this week that initial results from the world’s first effective coronavirus vaccine showed an extremely high prevention rate. The RNA vaccine has been developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech and is one of eleven vaccines that are currently in the final stages of testing.

Yet while the news was celebrated around the world, country leaders, particularly those from the third world, should not sit too easy. The news must be taken with a grain of salt. Firstly, there is still some time to go before the vaccine completes testing, side-effects are gauged and is released to the world. It will be seen if the vaccine will be released on priority rollout—and if that is the case, what or who will be a priority.

While that is all happening, the world, including Pakistan, is undeniably suffering a second wave of the coronavirus. Pakistan in particular has to be cautious. Pakistan was one of the countries which were left relatively unscathed by the first wave of the virus—this should not lead us to feel overly optimistic or lazy now. The recent numbers being reported are worrisome- the toll from coronavirus reached 7,000 in the country as 23 more deaths were reported on Tuesday. The daily deaths started rising again in mid-October—the positivity rate of the virus was 5.13 on Tuesday, the highest since August. Make no mistake—the second wave is here, as the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Faisal Sultan himself announced.

The government has thankfully taken notice of the alarming increase. One smart thing it has done, by replicating the last wave’s policy, is to target several localities in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan, which have been identified as virus hotspots. Yet more stringency is required to ensure these smart lockdowns are being respected. While a number of businesses, including indoor wedding halls, have been halted, there are still reports of people in gatherings, weddings and markets not respecting SOPs. The success of these smart lockdowns, designed to balance the economy and the pandemic, depends on how effectively they are followed.