The Omicron coronavirus variant detected in southern Africa could be the most likely candidate to displace the highly contagious Delta variant.
The discovery of Omicron has caused global alarm, with countries limiting travel from southern Africa for fear it could spread quickly even in vaccinated populations and the World Health Organization saying it carries a high risk of infection surges.
If Omicron proves even more transmissible than the Delta variant, it could lead to a sharp spike in infections that could put pressure on hospitals.
The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) Pakistan warned on Monday that new variant of coronavirus, Omicron, was wreaking havoc worldwide, particularly Europe, and eventually would also affect Pakistan.
Omicron, is wreaking havoc across the world [and it] will also eventually affect Pakistan as well, but the country has a few weeks to counter the threat. The variant has spread across the world and it will be impossible to stop it from entering Pakistan because the world is so inter-connected.
Citing the example of South Africa, where the positivity rate rose from 0.9% to 9.77% in mere 12 days, the NCOC chief repeated his call for vaccinating people aged 12 and above, and warned that after “the emergence of Omicron, there won’t be much time to tackle” the pandemic.
Detailing the measures to counter the threat of Omicron, the government had already banned flights from countries that were under the Omicron onslaught, while it would ramp up testing in high-risk areas and revive the contact tracing system.
All such steps can [only] delay the arrival of the new variant in Pakistan, but it is impossible to stop it from coming here because the world is so inter-connected. This is a very dangerous variant, but vaccination will still be effective against it, citing the initial report regarding the new variant.
As it’s impossible to stop the virus from entering Pakistan, it is imperative to get fully vaccinated at the earliest, since an increase in the vaccination rate would mitigate the effects of the Omicron variant.
The biggest challenge for this charity based institution is the arrangement of equipment such as PPE Kits, Masks, Ventilators, which are key essentials for saving lives. The frontline staff is at risk at all times and require protective gear in order to cater to patients. A number of patients are moved to the ICU where ventilators are required and unfortunately, the hospital does not have enough ventilators.
The hospital is already dealing with a lot of Dengue patients and if the cases go up which is inevitable, the number of patients will increase and Fatima Memorial will not have enough resources to deal with the patient load.
As a healthcare facility, we are doing whatever we can to save lives; however, there have been cases where the hospital could not take more patients due to non-availability of ventilators.
Our donors are requested to continue supporting the Hospital which will enable this institution to control the spread of the virus and provide medical care to the patients.