Govt ‘prepared’ to combat Covid variant

As new variants of coronavirus spread rapidly in parts of the globe, including neighbouring India and China, health authorities in Pakistan on Monday claimed to have fully prepared to deal with any sub-variant of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, including BF.7, in the country.

According to official sources at the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, an efficient system with a proper management team was fully functional in the country to remain vigilant and was ready to make an emergency plan in case of any untoward situation.

They said that there was a surveillance system at all entry points of the country including airports. They added medical staff at intensive care units (ICU) of hospitals across the country were also active to handle any situation.

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They said that genome sequencing was started in laboratories of all four provinces and the federal capital. They added that 90 percent of the country’s population already got the Covid-19 vaccine so they are safe.

They said that special directions had been issued to ensure the availability of an adequate quantity of ventilators, oxygen supply, and antiviral medicines in the hospitals.

Meanwhile, as per data shared by the National Institute of Health (NIH), 14 new coronavirus cases were reported during the last 24 hours across the country. The case positivity ratio is 0.53 percent while 18 patients were in critical condition.

No death was reported from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours while 3,394 tests were conducted. Around 151 tests were conducted in Islamabad, 824 in Lahore, and 55 in Multan.

As many as four confirmed cases with a 0.49% case positivity ratio were reported from Lahore, one case with a 0.66% case positivity ratio was reported from Islamabad and one case with a 1.82 % case positivity ratio was reported from Multan.

Meanwhile, Minister for National Health Services Abdul Qadir Patel appreciated the efforts of all stakeholders, healthcare staff, vaccination teams, and administration working across Pakistan despite multiple challenges.

He advised all provinces and regions to administer booster doses to further improve protection against Covid-19 transmission.

He said that in view of the global pandemic situation, the Central Health Establishment (CHE) will be strengthened to enhance its functionality.

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The minister emphasized the importance of precautions, including social distancing and mask-wearing, especially in crowded places. He also highlighted the need to strictly follow the guidelines for the management of markets.

It is pertinent to note that even though the NCOC claimed that the situation was being closely monitored, there have been no measures at airports, such as rapid testing and screening of inbound travellers, to detect positive cases of Covid-19.

Experts believe that NCOC should issue fresh guidelines and issue a position statement. They said the virus can enter the country anytime, adding that people would prefer to travel following the new guidelines.

The coronavirus strain spreading in China is a sub-variant of the highly infectious Omicron variant: BF.7 or BA., CBS News reported.

The country this month started to dismantle its “zero-Covid” regime of lockdowns and testing that had largely kept the virus away for three years.

(With Inputs from APP)

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