Karachi (29-06-22): Minister for Health and Population Welfare, Sindh, Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho met with Director EPI, Dr. Irshad Memon, and Covid Focal Person, Dr. Sohail Shiekh today to discuss the rising cases of covid-19.
The Minister for Health stated that there must be continued raising of awareness regarding the importance of wearing face masks, getting the covid vaccine booster shot 4 months after the previous shot, and practicing social distancing. Dr. Azra said that the city cannot be forced to go under another lockdown which is why it is highly necessary that the community at large understands the importance of covid SOPs and follows them.
Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho said that masks must be made mandatory for all indoor spaces, especially cinemas and the like so that there is not any more increase in infection. People are not taking the precautions that they used to which is another reason why the cases of covid are increasing.
The reason for the high percentage of covid positivity in Karachi is that most of the folks who are getting screened for covid already have the symptoms and are making sure that they have covid. There is also a significant portion of the population who are using at-home antigen tests and isolating without informing the healthcare workers.
The Minister added further that, even though many people think that vaccines provide little resistance to new variants, they do provide some protection and the reason hospital admissions for covid are as few as they are is because of the fact that over a hundred percent of the population has been vaccinated.
Out of the 51 million population of Sindh, 34.27 million are eligible for the covid vaccine (i.e. over 12 years of age). So far 34.70 million of the target population have been vaccinated and currently, the booster dose is being administered.
The Minister for Health and Population Welfare said that people must be made aware of the importance of the booster dose and should voluntarily come to the vaccination sites in the province. However, she also added that those who are unable to do so will be given the vaccine in their own home.
For these situations, there must be a helpline where people who are self-isolating can let the health department know that they have covid and are isolated so that there is a record of all cases of infection. She also said that just because the symptoms of covid infections are mild does not mean that the after-effects of long covid should be ignored. After effects of covid have not been extensively researched and many experts believe that long covid can target the immune system, internal organs, and neurological functions in otherwise healthy individuals.
The meeting was informed that due to there being such few cases of covid hospitalizations, wards that were allotted for covid have been closing down in the province and their equipment has been distributed to different hospitals in Sindh. However, there are still wards available in some hospitals so that the provinces’ health resources are always prepared for any resurge of cases.
Dr. Azra Pechuho stressed the importance of masks, vaccination, booster shot, and social distancing and asked those attending to ensure that all forms of media and public messaging are utilized to urge people to get the booster shots four months after their previous covid vaccination shot.