Thursday October 06, 2022

Covid positivity drops in Karachi as screening stepped up

June 29, 2022

KARACHI: The Covid-19 positivity rate dropped to 9.21 percent on Tuesday from 22.65 percent on the previous day after the health authorities doubled the screening in the city, as the health experts said those who had first and second booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccines and had natural immunity, were also being infected with the new ‘subvariants’ of the Omicron variant.

“Despite being fully immunised against the Covid-19 and having both boosters and natural immunity after being inflicted the infection in 2020 and 2021, I have been tested positive for the Covid-19 again. Although, the symptoms are mild but it is causing extreme pain in muscles and bones. I would recommend the people not to take it lightly even if you are fully immunized,” Abdur Rehman, a 45-year person living Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of Karachi, told The News.

The hospitalisation has started increasing steadily in Karachi, where dozens of the people are being tested positive for Covid-19 on daily basis, while the officials of Sindh Infectious Diseases Hospital and Research Center at NIPA, Indus Hospital and some other private hospitals have confirmed that the people with Covid-19 symptoms started pouring into the health facilities in the city.

The health experts are blaming BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron variant for infecting even the fully vaccinated people, saying that they could evade both vaccination immunity and the natural infection immunity.

“Recently one of my students, who had initial vaccinated with two boosters and a prior Covid-19 infection, became positive again with strong symptoms,” renowned epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert Dr Rana Jawad Asghar told The News, saying that the vaccines are working and saving lives, but they are never 100 percent effective. “It was the wrong impression given by the “pseudo epidemiologists” and “national leaders” for the pandemic control that there is never a zero risk and the sustainable interventions are more important for long term protection than the flamboyant but short term actions. We need to improve ventilation and follow SOPs,” he added.

Another expert and member of the Scientific Task Force on Covid-19 said the immunity level among the people was decreasing and the efficacy of vaccines, which was once 95 percent, had fallen to around 80-85 percent as the virus was continuously mutating.

He added that the vaccines were losing their efficacy even though they were the only protection against Covid-19 pandemic. Following increase in number of the Covid-19 cases in Karachi, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) and Sindh health department agreed on Tuesday to increase testing to curb the infections.

The meeting between the health department and the NCOC came after the latter was directed by Federal Health Minister Qadir Patel to approach the former and formulate a strategy to contain the virus. “It was discussed to increase testing, contact tracing and implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), especially wearing masks at all crowded places and during domestic travel by air, railways or road,” a statement by the National Institute of Health (NIH) said.