Pakistan Sees ‘Clear Early Signs’ Of 4th COVID-19 Wave

In Pakistan, Signs Of Another COVID-19 Wave In Pakistan Are Beginning To Emerge Amid The Spread Of New Variants.

In Pakistan, Signs Of Another COVID-19 Wave In Pakistan Are Beginning To Emerge Amid The Spread Of New Variants And Only Days After Most Of The Restrictions Were Relaxed. National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), leading the country’s pandemic response, has been warning about it. Minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, has now confirmed that there are “clear early signs” of a fourth wave of the coronavirus in Pakistan.

“Two weeks ago, I had tweeted that our artificial intelligence models are showing the possible emergence of a fourth wave. Now there are clear early signs of a fourth wave starting” he tweeted. Blaming the lax attitude of people and non-compliance with coronavirus-related standard operating procedures (SOPs) by businesses, the minister said field reports showed a “complete disregard” of the rules set by NCOC that only vaccinated people would be allowed to attend indoor weddings, and go to indoor restaurants and gyms.

“If the owners of these facilities do not show responsibility and ensure compliance, there will be no choice but to shut them down,” he warned. However, he added that there were currently no plans to implement complete lockdown.

PM warns of fourth wave

The minister’s warning comes a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed fears the fourth wave was looming and requested people to take necessary precautions to contain the spread of new variants.

The prime minister said the “Indian variant [delta variant] is the biggest challenge”. It first emerged in India but later spread to Bangladesh, Indonesia and Afghanistan leading to a surge in cases and hospitalisation, devastating much of the region, he said. “I know people are tired of following rules but wearing a mask is the easiest way we can avoid the fourth wave of coronavirus,” the premier said, advising people to follow health guidelines especially during Eid Al Adha to avoid lockdowns.

After attending a meeting to review the coronavirus situation in the country, he also urged people to get vaccinated as “ample doses of the vaccines are available” in the inventory, saying it is the only way out of the pandemic. Pakistan has so far received 23.6 million doses of different vaccines and has administered more than 19 million doses as of July 9. At least 422,754 people were jabbed in the last 24 hours.

COVID-19 situation

Pakistan witnessed a gradual decline in the new infections and deaths in mid-June after which the NCOC relaxed some of the restrictions particularly for fully vaccinated citizens and lifted business and travel curbs too. Pakistan reported 830 new cases on July 5, which doubled in just three days to 1737 infections on July 8.

The virus positivity ratio that dropped to 1.7 per cent towards the end of June has now spiked to 3.6 per cent. The worrying new trend is a sign that the deadly fourth wave is knocking at the doors as Pakistanis have let their guard and masks down.

Presence of different variants

The NCOC has confirmed the presence of different variants of coronavirus in Pakistan, including Alpha, Beta and Delta. Among these variants, Delta, which was first detected in India, is considered to be most contagious and dangerous. Beta variant was first detected in South Africa while Alpha variant that was discovered in the United Kingdom.

This news was originally published at Gulf News.

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