15 of a family test positive for Omicron


ISLAMABAD: Around 34 people have been found infected with Omicron Variant of SARS-CoV-2, including 15 members of a family in Islamabad, health officials in the capital said on Friday and warned that Covid-19 cases would rise rapidly in the days to come due to highly transmissible variant of the Coronavirus.

“As many as 34 people, including 15 members of a family, have been found infected with the Omicron Variant in the capital Islamabad and now we have 66 people who have contracted this variant in Islamabad. It (Omicron Variant) is spreading rapidly, so it is advised that people should adhere to precautionary measures, wear masks, and get vaccinated,” Dr Zaigham Zia, District Health Officer (DHO), Islamabad, said on Friday.

Advising people to follow Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) to prevent themselves from contracting the Covid-19, he said the first case of Omicron variant was detected on December 25 in the capital and now its community transmission has started but added that there was no need to panic due to the new variant.

Commenting on the emergence of more Omicron cases in the country, the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) officials said detection of Omicron variant was not a news anymore and advised people to follow the SOPs to save themselves from contracting the virus.

“Omicron detection is no more a news now. Let’s exercise all measures to contain its spread and mitigate associated risks. Practice SOPs, get vaccinated and rush for boosters if you are 30 years plus,” Director General (DG) Health Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar said in his tweet.

Officials at the National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, also confirmed that Covid-19 samples from different cities of Pakistan indicate that Omicron variant was replacing Delta and Kappa variants of Covid-19 in different cities of Pakistan and added that in some areas, like Karachi, an exponential increase in cases was being seen probably due to the Omicron variant.

“Positivity rate in Karachi is touching almost 5 percent while the national positivity rate is over one percent now. Our surveillance indicates an exponential rise in Covid-19 cases in some areas, including Karachi,” an official of the NIH Islamabad said and advised people to get vaccinated and go for the boosters if they have completed their vaccination.

So far, around 25 million people of the eligible population have only received one dose of the two-dose vaccines and they are more vulnerable to contracting Covid-19 along with those who are not vaccinated, the official said and added that as this variant is causing reinfection among people who have already contracted the disease, it is advised that all above 30 years must get booster dose of vaccine.

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