Federal Minister for Planning and Development and National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) head Asad Umar on Monday said that a travel ban had been imposed on the countries most affected by the new Covid variant , but this would only delay its entry into Pakistan, which cannot be fully stopped due to the interconnectedness of the world.
The minister issued this statement while addressing a press conference, along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Dr. Faisal Sultan, in which they discussed emerging threat of a new covid variant named Omicron.
Umar elaborated on several measures that the NCOC is planning to undertake. He said that testing, which had decreased significantly due to the falling cases, would be increased in collaboration with the provincial governments, and the contact tracing system would also be ‘rejuvenated’, particularly in high-risk areas.
The minister explained that according to reports the new variant was very dangerous but its impact could still be mitigated by the existing vaccines.
Quoting numbers from Pakistan’s vaccination program, he said that 50 million people had been fully vaccinated while 30 million had received one dose. He appealed that the partially vaccinated people should immediately get their second dose.
He added that provincial governments had been asked to ramp up the inoculation rates as Pakistan only had a window of two to three weeks until the variant started spreading in the country.
He ended by telling that a decision regarding booster shots for the high-risk population will be announced on November 30.