Delta Variant and Pakistan


With the Delta variant turning out to be a cause of grave concern in Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan, their provincial governments have taken drastic steps for lockdown measures that may be difficult to absorb for a great number of businesses but remain vital for public safety. While the national positivity average hovers around 6%, the 25% rate in Karachi is unprecedented with hospitals unable to cope the additional burden. Similarly, an approximately 9% rate for Gilgit-Baltistan is equally concerning. Even the district administration in Gwadar recently chose to close down the entire city for the next two weeks. Notably, just 3.2% of Pakistan’s population has been fully vaccinated which substantiates the notion of slow vaccination process. A number of factors are responsible for such a meagre rate including conspiracy theories and general hesitations.
Nevertheless, the National Command Operation Center’s (NCOC) achievements since March 2020 are noteworthy and applaudable in terms of both containment and public messaging thanks to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s directions for a smart strategy. But all of this could go down the drain if urgent steps aren’t taken to tackle the Delta variant, which was first detected in India during December 2020.
A lax attitude on part of sections of the public is also contributing to the staggering rise in number of cases as unvaccinated people are going out and about without realising the consequences. While vaccination does not ensure total immunity, it does help reduce the chances of fatalities despite some rare exceptions. Even SOPs are being ignored in large number of places which the authorities need to be strict about.
Reportedly, domestic air travel is being conditioned with full vaccination from next month.
This is a step in the right direction for the greater good of the public which needs to cooperate with state authorities. Though a bit late to the vaccination rollout plan, the arrival of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is a great sign for international travellers. This would assist them in securing quarantine exemptions in tourism and business-oriented countries.
However, a lot more needs to be done for containing this menace of a pandemic which is here to stay for longer than expected. For this, global efforts need to remain collective and devoid of any political manoeuvrings.