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Omicron hits Lahore

The rapid spread of Corona variant Omicron is ringing alarm bells across the world while major cities of Pakistan are bracing for this deadly pandemic. Reportedly, almost 12 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected in Lahore this week. The news calls for extra vigilance and cautions to be adopted by citizens in Lahore and the provincial health department. The Omicron coronavirus variant can add more burden to the Punjab government’s counterapproach to the disease. Recurrent contagious diseases like initial waves of COVID-19 and Dengue virus have already exacerbated the situation and exposed the vulnerability of the Punjab government’s healthcare system.

The fear of Corona was still in the air as this new variant is spreading its wings. Having far greater transmissibility than previous strains, spreading much faster globally and being more readily able to evade vaccination, any strategy has to be several steps ahead of developments. There can be no room for unscientific or knee-jerk responses; despite the uncertainties, the city has to be prepared and able to prevent the outbreak. New measures move in that direction, although given the risk and threat, more effort is obviously necessary. Authorities need to be especially vigilant and prepared with the approach of opening of schools and educational institutions across Punjab. As the entry of residents from overseas cannot be refused, only the vaccination is a current solution to ward off the disease.

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Omicron is spreading at an astonishing speed in many countries. Until vaccines that offer protection are available, the best strategy to slow its spread is vaccination and booster shots. A tough anti-COVID policy and a population closely adhering to mask-wearing, cleanliness and social distancing can ensure to avert a local outbreak. Much is still not known about Omicron and authorities need to follow the science and be prepared.

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