Delta variant spreading rapidly in Karachi, infection rate at 23%

People advised to follow precautionary measures
Jul 26, 2021

All the new coronavirus cases being reported in Karachi are of the Delta variant, Sindh Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Soomro revealed Monday.

"In the last 24 hours, the infection rate in Karachi spiked to 23%," he said in an interview with SAMAA TV programme Naya Din. "If the trend continues, the government will consider going towards a complete lockdown."

Soomro warned that people are not taking the virus seriously anymore. "Right now, we are going towards an expensive model where the number of ventilators, HDU beds, and oxygen cylinders at hospitals is being increased."

But, if the trajectory of cases remains the same, this will become a very expensive virus control mechanism that is not sustainable in the long run.

The cheapest and easiest way to protect yourself from the virus is to follow precautionary measures. "Wear masks, maintain social distancing, and vaccinate yourself and your family," the health secretary stressed.

Soomro added that the Sindh government will meet again tomorrow [Tuesday] to overview the coronavirus cases in the province.

Punjab to vaccinate 40% people by August 14

On Monday, Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid, too, warned that 70% coronavirus cases in the big cities in the province such as Lahore are of the Delta variant.

Get vaccinated as soon as possible, she urged. "Our aim is to get 40% of the population immunised by August 14."

Last week, the Punjab government launched a door-to-door Covid-19 vaccination campaign in Lahore, Multan, Gujranwala, Faislabad, and Rawalpindi.

Delta variant

The Delta variant of the coronavirus, also known as the Indian variant, has spread to more than 70 countries. It was first detected in India in December 2020. It is highly transmissible and appears to be more severe.

The variant appears to cause severe symptoms such as:
• Stomach pain
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Loss of appetite
• Hearing loss
• Joint pain

Other symptoms include skin rash, change in the colour of toes, sore throat, shortness of breath, as well as loss of smell, diarrhea, headache, and runny nose.

Health experts in Sindh have discovered a new mutation of the coronavirus’ Delta variant – Delta wild or Delta Plus. Last Monday, the province reported six cases of the ‘Delta wild’ variant, Soomro confirmed.

According to the World Health Organisation, the Delta Plus/wild variant contains a new mutation in the spike protein of the novel coronavirus. It enters human cells and is called K417N.

Closely linked to the Delta variant, the new mutation has been named ‘Delta Plus’ by the WHO’s naming system for COVID-19 variants. So far, the Delta Plus variant has been reported in relatively low numbers across the world.

How to protect yourself

Vaccines aren’t a perfect defence. Some fully vaccinated people needed hospital treatment and died after catching the variant. This variant’s advantage over the Alpha one is its ability to partially evade the immune system in people who are already vaccinated.

The guidelines to avoid exposure to the new variant are the same:

  • Sanitize hands more often
  • Wear a mask
  • Avoid public gatherings
  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible
  • Avoid meeting people with symptoms
  • Avoid unnecessary travel

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