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PM Imran fears fourth Covid wave looming over Pakistan, terms Indian-origin variant ‘the biggest concern’ – Pakistan

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday warned of a looming fourth wave of Covid-19 in the country, terming the Delta variant, which is believed to have originated in India, “the biggest concern”.

Pakistan has witnessed a sudden rise in daily cases in recent days.

According to the government’s Covid-19 portal, the number of daily Covid-19 cases dropped from four digits to three digits on June 25. The daily cases being reported remained close to the 900 mark till June 27 and further fell to 735 on June 28. Then the number of cases gradually started increasing and doubled in just one week. The positivity rate, which stood at less than 2 per cent in June, crossed 3pc after a gap of 20 days.

A day ago, the Natio­nal Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had also confirmed presence of different variants of coronavirus, including the Delta (Indian), Beta (South African) and Alpha (UK) variants, in Pakistan and detection of their cases in May and June.

In a video message addressed to the nation today, the premier referred to countries including Afghanistan and Indonesia hit by the Delta variant and expressed concern over the upward trajectory of Covid-19 cases in Pakistan, just days after they were on the decline.

“We fear the Indian variant could strike Pakistan and as a precautionary measure, we need to adhere to the SOPs,” he warned.

While thanking people for abiding by the SOPs on his previous appeals, he urged the masses to continue their cooperation with the administration and compulsorily wear masks at all places, especially “restaurants, wedding gatherings, and indoor spaces, because such spots are extreme contributors to spread of the virus.”

The premier said he knew people had become tired of following the SOPs for over a year, but said: “We will further put your test stamina to test for your own safety.”

He said it was not a herculean task to wear a mask.

Talking about the downsides of a lockdown on the country, the prime minister said: “When you impose a lockdown, the most affected segment is the poor, and for the sake of our people, our economy, and our elders, I urge everyone to wear masks,” he appealed.

He said that Bangladesh and Indonesia had imposed strict lockdowns, adding that we need to take measures to prevent that situation from clutching us.

He also said the government had to ensure that sacrificial animals on Eidul Azha should be slaughtered at sites outside cities to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Take the jab

The premier also urged the masses to get themselves vaccinated.

“Unfortunately we do not produce vaccines, so we may get a bit late in vaccinating our entire population against the coronavirus,” he added.

He urged people, especially those in urban areas, to take the jabs.

“If we survive the fourth wave, we will be able to save our country,” he concluded.

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