By Sardar Khan Niazi
The rise of a highly contagious variant of Covid-19 entitled Omicron has caused panic throughout the world. An advisory panel of the World Health Organization has dubbed the newest Covid-19 variant identified in South Africa as an exceedingly communicable virus.
The appearance of the new-fangled omicron variant of the covid-19 coronavirus led to the imposition of a ban on travelers from southern Africa, such as South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, and Lesotho.
This step reflects that these countries are where the new variant has emerged and that Pakistan so far does not have a single case of the new variant, which is reportedly deadlier than the original.
The European Union was quick in imposing an air travel ban from southern Africa. The United Kingdom and the Japanese government also have adopted precautionary measures requiring tests and quarantine for passengers coming from African countries.
They say prevention is better than cure. The mistake made last time when travelers were allowed to go to any place without being isolated must not be repeated this time around.
The arrival of the omicron variant is foreseeable but strong border management will certainly lessen its effect. The country has escaped the worst effects of the earlier variant observed in the neighboring country, but that should not lead to any smugness. There should be no letup in the endeavors to tackle it.
Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar has given a very well timed warning about the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus Pandemics making its way to Pakistan in a matter of weeks. For that reason, there is enough time to get ready for the unavoidable offensive of this new variant that has sent financial markets into a nosedive all over the world and reintroduced calls for lockdowns in a number of countries.
All and sundry are familiar with the fact that the only way of dealing with this new variant is just enough vigilance and guaranteeing firm observance of all standard operating procedures (SOPs) evidently spelled out by the PTI government.
In spite of the shocking first wave of the coronavirus last year, Pakistan has done a better job than most countries in overpowering fresh infections and demises in check. That enabled the country to keep the economy running very unswervingly after the first comprehensive lockdown.
It was because of the timely healthier policy decisions taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan that Pakistan was able to handle the Covid-19 situation in a better way. Such wise policy decisions enabled the Pakistani producers to pick up export orders lost to others.
The data-driven methodology espoused by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which was able to detect and segregate hot areas in time and limit the damage, made all this possible.
NCOC’s care and accuracy are sure to work wonders once again. At the same time, we should not forget that all kinds of approaches are destined to flop if the public does not act sensibly and fails to keep an eye on the government’s instructions prudently. Vaccination is also the most rational solution to curb the threat.
The most recent variant is much more infectious and deadly than all the earlier ones, therefore the citizens’ awareness and precaution can do a lot in crushing this threat. The people should make certain that all of them follow the guidelines of the government. The early control of the new variant can help in avoiding widespread shutter downs.
These days Pakistan’s economy is on a turning point and the government is trying its best to revive the IMF program. The people should view Asad Umar’s warning against this backdrop. We have to remain more careful and alert to meet the new challenge.