The Pakistan Medical Association issued a warning that a fifth wave of the coronavirus could hit the country by the end of January, as new cases of the fast-spreading omicron variant are reported in various cities across the country.
The strain was discovered in southern Africa and Hong Kong in November, with the first known case in Pakistan being identified this month in a woman with no prior travel history outside the country. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced this week that 75 omicron cases had been confirmed in the United States.
As the number of daily infections increases around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled the omicron variant as “very high.” Many countries, including Europe, have struggled to strike a balance between imposing new anti-virus restrictions and keeping economies and societies open in the face of an increase in daily caseload.
Until Wednesday, Pakistan had fully vaccinated 68.5 million people and administered a total of 153.5 million doses.
In the last 24 hours, the country reported 348 positive coronavirus cases and 6 deaths. Across the country, 636 people are said to be in critical condition.
According to Dr. Khalid Mahmood, a public medical expert at the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology, a suspicious omicron patient was hospitalized with minor symptoms.
“People should follow health standards like wearing masks and ensuring social distancing in public places to stop the recent surge,” he told Arab News, adding that Pakistan was at danger of more omicron cases from international travelers and that airport screening should be improved:
“Vaccination against the virus and precautionary measures are the only tools available to help us avoid disaster.