By: Asem Mustafa Awan
The delta variant, first identified in India, has ratcheted up pressure on global think tanks, as the World Health Organization has joined heads and hands together to combat the SARS-CoV-2 mutation, which is believed to be far more deadly and spread faster than its predecessors.
The researchers are finding the virus to be a silent killer showing very little and least common symptoms like flu, body ache, diarrhea and likewise but it drains away the energy and finally the life from the patient. Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed his concern about the fourth wave, which played havoc in India and Bangladesh.
Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, who also heads National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), has spelled it out very clearly that in case the caution is not taken seriously in adherence to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs), the businesses particularly the hotels and marriage halls will have to be shut down. This warning is a clear message for general public as well as relevant businesses that they must follow SOPs and the safety of the customers and public at the same time.
The fourth wave of the virus is taking its toll globally and medicine giants are pushing for the third dose. There is huge amount of money involved in the vaccine business as whoever finds the cure will hold the key for billions of dollars.
China that had the first case of novel virus infection has been in the forefront with the remedial vaccine which has been very effective but at the same time Russia, America and other countries are also pushing for their vaccines as the ultimate cure. It clearly indicates that the race to find a cure and get it accepted globally has become a political issue.
World Health Organization is also blamed at the same time as rich countries with better resources were able to vaccinate their entire population while poor countries are still faced with the dilemma of getting the vaccine.
Pakistan has been lucky in limiting the cases and the government response to the pandemic has won appreciations. But that is not all, less than 10 per cent of the total population is vaccinated, so far, which is very insignificant. While, as many as 15 people were diagnosed with the variant in Rawalpindi district on Thursday, which exposes the country’s vulnerabilities despite its success in controlling the spread of COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic last year.
There are different shortcomings, which popped up as the nation took to vaccination campaign such as shortages of the vile, mismanagement at centres, and cognitive dissonance to the vaccination itself. On top of everything, much needed clarity is missing at all levels.
Yet to be addressed is the issue of people who have different ailments like heart diseases, cancers, blood pressure, diabetes and others in addition to age factor since different medicine react differently.
Another issue related to inoculation has surfaced of late that needs to discuss, at the level of the NCOC if not higher than provincial governments are conditioning release of salaries with vaccination.
The writer is special correspondent at ‘The Dayspring’. He can be reached at [email protected]