Dealing with the daunting danger

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As feared, the omicron threat, which was looming large for almost a month, has turned into a reality as the nation did not pay heed to the safety measures as a result the situation has worsened to the level to make local authorities impose micro smart lockdowns in parts of the metropolis where the Omicron cases have surged the smart lockdown is in place from last week in a bid to control the rapidly rising cases of the country’s fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is to be mentioned here that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which is coordinating the government’s coronavirus response, has already imposed restrictions in big cities  which  include a ban on indoor gatherings and indoor dining at restaurants. As per available information, over 6,808 new cases of COVID-19, the second-highest ever daily case rise since the corona pandemic started, Active cases rose by 6,377, the highest-ever rise in the same period, the data revealed. There is no denying that omicron is not that deadly as earlier variants of the corona virus, but this does not mean that it cannot take toll on lives. The irony is that people know what they have to do, they are aware of the precautionary measures, but they are in a relaxation mode right now, which should not be an option in the wake of alarming increase in the new variants of the deadly virus.

The public seems to be in no mood to exercise caution at all and that is the big hurdle in preventing spread of the new variants, so one is not sure whether the nation is ready to deal with the danger of Omicron, which is spreading like wildfire in the entire world. In Karachi’s district central  Gulberg, North Nazimabad, North Karachi and Liaquatabad  have emerged as hotspots of the virus which has led to lockdown situation but the irony is that people are still taking this variant lightly.

During the lockdown, the movement of people will be restricted in the hotspot areas. As the country is faced with the alarming threat of Omicron in the third year of the corona pandemic, vaccination remains the most effective tool against covid and its various variants. The most unfortunate thing is that not only the new variant omicron is spreading at alarming rate but the already existing forms of corona are also taking toll on lives of the citizens, who have become complacent once the shut-downs of the markets and closures of businesses and workplaces have been halted. The above statistics are enough to indicate how critical the situation is becoming in the province where the authorities have also intensified an extensive covid 19 vaccination drive.

The irony is that our people have become relaxed after the corona restrictions were lifted in the provinces and have stopped exercising and adopting the precautionary measures. What they fail to understand that if the alarming rate of the covid positive cases continued, the authorities will be compelled to impose further restrictions and complete lockdowns and measures which will be a woeful situation for them. Meanwhile, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) says the positivity rate has increased to alarming level. Wearing a mask is the simplest, the easy and best protection, but one wonders the masses are not ready to wear it.

But if they continued with the current laxity mood and violated the precautionary rules, then the imposition of a lockdowns seems inevitable. It may be mentioned here that the local authorities in Karachi had already imposed micro-smart lockdown in the city’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Block 7 in the first week of January, after as many as 12 members of a same family tested positive for the Omicron. It is welcome to note that the administration of booster shots has also been started for people who have attained 30 years of age and who have already been fully vaccinated six months ago.  It may be recalled here that earlier this month, the NCOC had allowed booster shots of vaccines for persons above 30 years of age because of Omicron’s arrival to over 100 countries, including Pakistan.

Meanwhile, medical experts have suggested third booster dose of vaccine as they say that the two doses of a Covid vaccine are not enough to safeguard one from catching the Omicron variant which is highly transmissible. Quoting the UK research, they said:  they said the results of UK analysis on Omicron and Delta indicated the vaccines were less effective at preventing the new variant. As such the third booster dose is a must which must prevent around 75% of people getting any Covid symptoms. According to medical research, the booster dose ensures a big rise in virus-fighting antibodies, which in return may prove quite as effective against omicron as they are against other variants like delta etc of the deadly virus.  Meanwhile, the medical experts have also sought all necessary precautions like wearing a mask, keeping social distancing, using sanitizers and avoiding crowds to avert any possible spread of the new variants in the country.