Alarming Onset of Third Wave By Malik Muhammad Ashraf

Notwithstanding the fact that the government has shown remarkable commitment in dealing with the third wave of covid- 19, particularly the NCOC which is monitoring the situation on a daily basis and revising the SOPs besides putting in place preventive measures in response to the emerging situation, the pandemic continues to remain on the upward curve. For the last many days the daily toll of deaths has remained in three figures while new infections have been hovering between 5000 and 6000, with the positivity rate showing a countrywide average of 11.2 percent. In some cities, the daily positivity percentage is in the 20s.

Needless to say, no policy or strategy adopted by the government can be successful without the cooperation and support of the masses. The coronavirus is not only a threat to the human lives but also to the economies of the affected countries. God forbid the spread of coronavirus like in other countries, whch can have a devastating effect on the economy of Pakistan besides consuming human lives. We can succeed in keeping that eventuality at bay through collective efforts.

It is indeed a very alarming situation, which unfortunately is a sequel to people not abiding by the SOPs. If the trend continues with the same velocity things are likely to get out of hand and put a lot of strain on our health system. The advisories being issued by NCOC on a daily basis are falling on deaf ears. Go around the city and you will find that most of the people in the streets and markets are without face masks and are not observing social distancing either, in spite of the persuasive campaign by the NCOC through the media underlining the importance of wearing masks and abiding by the SOPs. The government, after witnessing flouting of the SOPs on an extensive scale and the failure of persuasive methods to achieve the objective, has perforce sought the assistance of the Army to ensure implementation of the SOPs. The government has also hinted at the possibility of going for a complete lockdown as a last resort, which it has rightly avoided to opt so far due to its serious repercussions for the poorer sections of the society, particularly the daily wagers.

Pakistan is lucky to have waded through the previous two waves with minimum loss of lives and infections as compared to rest of the world; thanks to the prudent strategy of smart lockdowns pursued by the government. The government is not only engaged in administrative measures required to check the onslaught of the pandemic but it is also making strenuous efforts to treat the covid-19 patients and protecting the citizens from the virus through a sustained country-wide vaccination campaign.

It has almost completed the vaccination of the front line health workers and doctors engaged in dealing with coronavirus cases, and currently the senior citizens and now people above the age of 50 are being vaccinated throughout the country in the centres established by the NCOC with the number being further increased. According to reliable sources 70,000-80,000 people are being vaccinated every day, with the number likely to increase in the coming days.

Our friend and iron brother China has already donated 1.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccines and yesterday 1.5 million more doses were delivered to Pakistan. More supplies are also expected to arrive in May. China also gifted a consignment to the Pakistani armed forces but the military decided to surrender the vaccine to the frontline healthcare workers.

Reportedly Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart and State Councilor Wang Yi, recently, underscoring that Pakistan had devised an elaborate plan of vaccination across the country as part of its efforts to combat the pandemic. He discussed with him the efforts to reinforce Pakistan’s capacity to effectively and expeditiously fight the pandemic by ensuring the supply of Chinese vaccines to Pakistan. The Chinese Foreign Minister assured him that China would continue to firmly support Pakistan in its fight against the pandemic and accord highest priority to the requirements of its time-tested friend.

Last August Pakistan also signed an agreement with GAVI under which the organization would provide 90 million vaccines to Pakistan, good enough to cover 20 percent of the population, as soon as the vaccines come available. GAVI is a global health partnership of public and private sector organizations dedicated to “immunization for all”. It provides a unique opportunity for a wide-range of partners to build consensus around policies, strategies, and priorities and to recommend responsibility of implementation to the partner with the most experience and insight in the area. GAVI has developed innovative approaches to international health and development. It also provides support to save the lives of children and to protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries. It contributes to achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals by focusing on performance, outcomes and results. Its partners provide funding for vaccines and intellectual resources for care advancement. They contribute, also, to strengthening the capacity of the health system to deliver immunization and other health services in a sustainable manner.

GAVI will bear the cost of these doses and the government has already announced free vaccination of all its citizens in due course of time. In the meantime, the private sector has also been allowed to import vaccines and according to media reports a private party in Karachi has already imported a consignment of the Russian vaccine, ‘Sputnik’, which will be marketed after approval of the government and determination of its prices.

The foregoing facts clearly indicate the dedication and commitment of the government in securing the public against onslaught of the coronavirus and to have the maximum number of people vaccinated against it. But the irony is that a lot of people are skeptical about having themselves vaccinated due to all sorts of rumours about the efficacy of the vaccination and the side-effects, notwithstanding the fact that no ill effect of vaccination has been reported in Pakistan.

People therefore need to realize that it is about their lives that the government was worried about and it was their religious duty as well to secure their lives by observing the SOPs and having themselves vaccinated. As they say prevention is better than cure. The best defence against contracting the virus is to abide by the SOPs and also to have yourself vaccinated without any fear.

Needless to say, no policy or strategy adopted by the government can be successful without the cooperation and support of the masses. The coronavirus is not only a threat to the human lives but also to the economies of the affected countries. God forbid the spread of coronavirus like in other countries, whch can have a devastating effect on the economy of Pakistan besides consuming human lives. We can succeed in keeping that eventuality at bay through collective efforts.

Source: https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/04/27/alarming-onset-of-third-wave/

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