COVID-19 pandemic has again assumed serious situation in the country over the last week or so with positivity rate ranging between five and six per cent and confirming the third wave, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar the other day cited spread of Coronavirus variant from the UK as reason behind it. This new strain is reportedly more transmissible and recent research suggests its mortality rate is also higher.
The situation indeed warrants urgent action on part of federal and provincial governments to save precious lives and reduce its impact on economic activities.
The Punjab government must be appreciated for timely gauging the situation and re-imposing restrictions under which all commercial activities and markets will close by 6pm on weekdays and stay completely closed on weekends except those involved in sale of essential commodities.
In some districts where positivity rate is high, schools have also been closed from today (Monday) till 28th of this month.
In the federal capital also, hotspots areas are being sealed while wearing the mask has been made mandatory.
These are timely decisions and other federating units should follow suit to check the spread of new strain, which is far more dangerous.
National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) under Asad Umar has so far done a good job and one expects it will continue to take decisions that are necessary to control the situation getting out of hand.
There is an immediate need to increase facilities for treatment of Covid-19 patients apart from scaling up testing capacity to quarantine those who have attracted the virus.
As people are now least observing the SOPs, a vigorous mass awareness campaign should be launched both on electronic and print media to apprise them of the threat.
Institutions and people must be held responsible and accountable for non-adherence of the laid-down instructions, SOPs and observe same level of care they had resorted to about a year ago for a safe and secure future of every Pakistani.
It is only through unity and adherence to health guidelines we can prevail.
Instead of waiting for donated doses, government must also ensure early procurement of vaccine for the general public.
The economic difficulties can further increase, if we did not act fast to control the third wave of the Pandemic.