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Health experts warn of sixth Covid wave in Pakistan

by Vaishali Sharma

Pakistan health experts on Tuesday expressed concern over the recent spike in Covid-19 community cases and warned that the surge might turn into a sixth wave of the pandemic.

The medical experts urged people to wear face masks and maintain social distancing to prevent themselves from the deadly virus, reported The News. Mild symptoms are being observed among the infected people, and the situation can turn out of control if preventive measures are not taken by the people, the doctors warned.

Karachi has become the most affected city after registering 340 positive community cases. The officials from the health department said that the port city recorded 10.69 per cent positivity rate in the last seven days, local media reported.

The virus was detected in 34 of the 9,892 Covid-19 tests undertaken in the remainder of Sindh.

According to the National Institute of Health, 204 additional patients tested positive for coronavirus in the previous 24 hours after 13,300 tests were performed, raising the positivity ratio to 1.53 percent (NIH).

Notably, 66 infected persons were hospitalised to hospital intensive-care units (ICU).

Dr. Saeed Khan of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) indicated that the BA.5 variety has been detected in Pakistan and is being transmitted locally.

“While other [old] sub-variants of Omicron are also being reported in Karachi, this one is more contagious since it’s a new one and has been cause of concern in other parts of the world,” said Khan.

The unvaccinated, the elderly, and persons with impaired immunity, according to the DUHS professor, are most vulnerable.

Also Read: Covid case Update: 13,313 cases reported in India, 38 deaths reported

He said that the lack of Covid-19 preventative measures in public locations, the general people’s unwillingness to obtain a booster shot, and genetic differences amongst the variations allow them to spread quicker.

Aga Khan University professor Dr Faisal Mahmood said, “the introduction of the new variant BA.4 and BA.5, which can cause reinfections, increased travel — especially to Saudi Arabia for Umrah and Turkey for vacations — as well as the fact that six months have passed since the last booster, and that people have stopped wearing masks,” are among the major reasons for the spike in the community cases.

People do not seek COVID-19 tests if their symptoms are minor, according to professor Mahmood, who added that the total number of cases is higher than the reported instances due to the difficulty to record home testing kits.

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