Omicron Spreading

For the third consecutive day, Pakistan has been reporting a positivity rate of more than three percent and within the last 24 hours, 2233 cases were reported across the country. Given the upwards trajectory the roaring fifth wave is taking, it seems that we are only a few days away from reporting 4000 and then 6000 cases per day unless the government acts immediately and implements smart lockdowns in major hotspots. This is a sad reality that we must come to terms with but as of right now, such stringent measures are needed and time is of the essence.

It is essential to give credit where credit is due in that the government has now successfully inoculated 49 percent of the eligible population of Pakistan. This contributes greatly towards limiting the transmission rates and decreasing the burden onto the hospitals as those who even contract Covid-19 after getting vaccinated often experience milder symptoms. With the government’s plan to initiate door-to-door vaccinations, more members of the public who had a tough time accessing clinics and centres will be catered to as well.

At the same time however, there are certain areas within the country that don’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down when it comes to virus transmission. Karachi has been consistently reporting a worrying 20.22 percent positivity rate despite government efforts. Earlier in the month, a 15-day lockdown was imposed in the neighbourhood of Gulshan-e-Iqbal which was reporting high cases. Perhaps a similar policy is what is needed on a national level before matters proceed to get out of hand further.

The Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry, asserted that Pakistan will not undergo another lockdown and that all focus is being placed on vaccinating as many people as possible so that the Omicron wave becomes tolerable. While it is understandable that the economic strain of a lockdown will be immense, we must also understand the growing impact of a raging fifth wave which, if it continues to grow in intensity, will cause more harm by reducing workforce sizes, disrupting national health, challenging our country’s building immunity and subjecting us to pressure and restrictions from the international community as well.

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