New Covid variant

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THE Covid cases are witnessing a major surge in China. This is being primarily driven by BF.7 Omicron sub-variant.

According to estimates by the country’s top health authority, nearly thirty seven million people in China may have been infected with the pandemic on a single day last week.

The new sub variant is being described as most infectious as compared to variants detected previously.

According to experts, it spreads quicker than expected and can affect those who are already vaccinated.

It also has a higher capacity to cause re-infection or infect even those who are already vaccinated.

As per latest studies, the BF.7 variant has several times higher neutralisation resistance than original Wuhan virus.

This means the antibodies from vaccination are not effective enough against the virus. The cases of new variant have also been detected in some other countries including the US and India.

The experts are also warning that the situation could get severe in winter months. While we have no doubt in the capacity and capability of Chinese authorities to successfully deal with present challenge as it did so previously, it is also for Pakistani authorities to stay alert as our health infrastructure does not have the capacity to cope with a whopping number of patients.

National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Saturday denied detection of new Covid variant in the country but since several countries have lifted travel restrictions, we will have to be more vigilant.

We should immediately issue new guidelines for those travelling abroad or those coming to Pakistan.

Screening for arriving travellers must be declared mandatory at all airports and any suspicious case must be isolated.

At the same time, we should be ready to face any eventuality. Preparation should be made immediately to enhance our capacity to deal with cases.

As Pakistan is already faced with disaster of floods, the UN agencies and international community should lend a helping hand to deal with any emergent situation arising out of the new Covid variant.