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Karachi, Lahore reporting '60% of country's Omicron cases' says NCOC

Updated 11 Jan, 2022
NCOC head Asad Umar, along with SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, addresses a press conference in Islamabad. Screen grab
NCOC head Asad Umar, along with SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, addresses a press conference in Islamabad. Screen grab

The National Command and Operation Centre on Wednesday said Karachi and Lahore account for around 60 per cent of the Omicron cases, stressing the need for vaccination and following SOPs.

South African scientists on November 25 detected a new Covid-19 variant, now known as Omicron. The variant - called B.1.1.529 - has a "very unusual constellation" of mutations, which are concerning because they could help it evade the body's immune response and make it more transmissible, scientists had told reporters at a news conference in Islamabad.

"It is more important for the people of these two cities -- Karachi and Lahore -- to reach the nearest vaccination centre and get themselves vaccinated," NCOC head Asad Umar said in a press conference. He was accompanied by SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan.

They also shared different statistics charts based on the results of the Omicron variant in Karachi. Umar again urged the citizens to "immediately" get the vaccination dose and complete their vaccination if anyone has got the first dose of the jab.

The NCOC on January 2 had tweeted that clear evidence of a beginning of another Covid wave, which has been expected for the last few weeks, were springing up. He had reiterated that wearing a mask was the "best protection" against the virus.

On Wednesday, he said the new variant was spreading fast, with an increased number of patients. He warned that non-vaccination of children of or above 12 years was also a risk to senior citizens, highlighting that they must be vaccinated. Further showing the chart, he added that the Covid positivity ratio was increasing over the past few days. He advised people living in big cities to avoid going to densely populated areas, as most cases were reported in such areas.

Dr Sultan spoke about Pakistan's research on the Omicron and the impact of vaccine on the new variant.

"Our data shows that the rate of infection among people vaccinated against coronavirus almost ends as compared to the non-vaccinated people," he said, "If you are older (over 40/50/60 years of age) then you also have the maximum advantage of the vaccine. Precisely, the older people have more gain from the vaccine."

So it showed that vaccines were working to protect everyone -- especially senior citizens -- and giving results, Faisal said, adding that they have more advantage of the vaccine as compared to men. "Vaccine protects everyone -- especially senior citizens and women."

Quoting the world and the country's analysis, he added that to a great extent vaccines helped against the coronavirus. He urged the people to avail this vaccine facility to stem the virus spread and save the healthcare sector from pressure.

Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad are showing increased cases of the Covid variant, he said, adding that around 350 omicron cases were reported. "We should not have any misunderstanding that we cannot be sicker because of this variant."

Faisal stressed the need for getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and to have some air space facilit while going to densely populated areas.