Just when we thought things are getting back to the “new normal” post-COVID, another variant decided to surprise us. Named as Omicron variant, the virus was first found in South Africa and is believed to have an “unprecedented number of spike mutations”.

The WHO has warned that the virus may spread fast and that more information regarding this strain will be shared in the next few weeks. Countries in European Union have already reported confirmed cases of this variant, causing others to take precautionary measures. The British PM has invited health ministers of G7 countries to meet and discuss the current situation. Meanwhile, Japan has closed its borders for all foreigners.

Pakistan also has banned the entry of travellers from six countries. Asad Umar, Chairman NCOC, has said that though we cannot stop the spread of the Omicron variant, we may lessen the impact by contact tracing and administrating booster vaccine shots. He also showed concern about the virus coming to Pakistan as the travel continues as usual globally.

In addition to booster shots and contact tracing, the government is encouraging people to start practising strict SOPs including wearing masks, washing hands and doing rapid testing. The Government is also fighting a battle with the mindset that are discouraging vaccines.

South Africa has reported that most infected patients who are coming to hospitals are people who are unvaccinated. We also know that vaccinated people are also at risk of getting reinfected but the damage this new variant can do is still unclear.

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