On the edge : As the pandemic ravages social systems around the globe, Pakistanis too feel the pressure to continue adherence to strict SOPs

On the edge : As the pandemic ravages social systems around the globe, Pakistanis too feel the pressure to continue adherence to strict SOPs

On the edge : As the pandemic ravages social systems around the globe, Pakistanis too feel the pressure to continue adherence to strict SOPs

As people around the globe learn to live on the edge with the coronavirus over the past two years, the new year 2022 shows no signs of improvement where the pandemic is concerned. Wearing of face masks and maintaining social distancing among other standard operating procedures (SOPs) are likely to continue.

With the year beginning, people are preparing to adopt a new set of precautionary measures to contain the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

A statement issued by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad says that since the World Health Organisation (WHO) had designated Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’ on November 26, the Ministry of National Health Services, National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), NIH and provincial health departments have remained vigilant to detect the new variant in Pakistan.

“The first case of Omicron was reported on December 13 in Karachi. As of December 27, a total of 75 Omicron cases have been confirmed, including 33 in Karachi, 17 in Islamabad and 13 in Lahore. Moreover, 12 virus cases were associated with international travel. The authorities concerned have isolated the patients and initiated contact tracing in order to control the spread of the variant,” it stated.

Health services Karachi director Dr Akram Sultan while speaking to Bol News said that the new variant is a reminder that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over.


“It is essential that people get vaccines and continue to follow existing advice on preventing the spread of the virus,” he said.

According to the NCOC website, Covid-19 is inciting panic for a number of reasons. It’s a new virus, meaning no one has immunity. It is highly contagious, meaning it spreads fast. Its novelty means that scientists are not completely sure as to how it behaves since they have very little history to go on.

The website further added that people must follow SOPs including physical distancing, wearing masks, regular hand washing and keeping indoor areas well ventilated.

Dr Sultan, however, said that there is no need to panic; everyone should just follow the SOPs and get booster shots. “Omicron is knocking [at] the door and everyone must take care of themselves.”

According to the report, the omicron variant wreaked havoc in other parts of the world, particularly the USA. More than 400,000 people were identified as Covid-19 positive with mild symptoms. Meanwhile, in France more than 100,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus in a single day.

Citing these reports Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) general secretary Dr Qaiser Sajjad showed his concern that the government must impose a strict lockdown.


“We already expecting new waves of Covid-19 in late December but unfortunately the federal and provincial governments have relaxed the restrictions regarding coronavirus which can be dangerous. It was also noticed that people were not taking precautionary measures.”

Screening at airports and borders should be tightened and people should be vaccinated as soon as possible, the PMA general secretary stressed.

He also suggested that the government must ban indoor gatherings with participation of more than 500 people.

He explained that the government further announced that only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to enter cinemas throughout the country. “Only vaccinated individuals will be allowed to take part in activities related to tourism, board a flight and enter a public park or a swimming pool area.”

Public opinion

Kamran Haroon, a local manufacturer, told Bol News that the nation is already following the SOPs strictly and does not need any new lockdown.


He claimed that the country’s economy is already in a fragile state and the government should act accordingly.

Mohammad Ali, a shop owner in Defence, said that the authorities concerned must direct that attendance at hotels and restaurants should not surpass 50 per cent of total capacity.

He further said that according to the WHO reports the vaccines offered significant protection against severe disease and death. “The government instead of imposing a lockdown should ensure administration of vaccines to the people of all backgrounds.”

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