KARACHI: Fearing that the country might face a fourth wave of coronavirus due to emerging Covid-19 variants, Sindh Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho at a meeting held on Saturday directed all district administrations to expedite the Covid-19 vaccination drive.
“There is a fear of fourth wave,” the statement issued after the meeting quoted the minister as saying.
Dr Pechuho expressed concern that the health situation might get critical again as new coronavirus variants had been reported in the country including the Delta (Indian) variant.
“All stakeholders should be taken on board to expedite the Covid-19 vaccination drive, particularly the industrial sector, and informed that the government might opt for another lockdown if coronavirus cases increase. To avoid this situation, everyone should get vaccinated against the virus,” she noted.
Dr Pechuho also directed officials to ensure that the target set for the polio campaign currently in progress across the province was met.
The officials were told to be cautious in cases where children were not found present at home when the staff approach the families for polio vaccination and ensure that the children are vaccinated later against the disease.
The government would allow only those factories to open which would ensure vaccination of their staff against coronavirus, the minister added.
She also directed the officials to open Covid-19 vaccination centres at Nadra offices and seek support of final year students of medical and paramedical to gear up efforts in this respect.
The government would take action against officials who would fail to meet vaccination targets, she warned.
The meeting focusing on government’s efforts to tackle polio and coronavirus was attended in person by Health Secretary Kazim Jatio, parliamentary health secretary Qasim Soomro, EOC-Sindh’s (emergency operation centre for polio) coordinator Fayyaz Abbasi while commissioners and deputy commissioners joined the session through video link.
According to media reports, the Delta variant or B.1.617.2 was first detected in India and has spread to more than 60 countries. In the United Kingdom, it accounts for about 60 per cent of coronavirus cases while it accounts for 6pc of infections in the US, though in some states it accounts for over 18pc of sampled coronavirus cases.
In Pakistan, two cases of this variant have so far been reported, one of them in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2021