Thursday, 1 June, 2023

PM’s Focus On Vaccine

We are under yet another wave of COVID-19 spread, this time involving the new variant of the virus known as Omicron. Before the onset of this wave, there were only a few hundred daily infections which was turning daily life towards normalcy. But the infection rate has been spiraling very rapidly since the outbreak of the latest mutant. The number of daily infections of Nepal has crossed 10,200 as per the data provided by the Ministry of Health and Population on Tuesday. The cases are increasing by leaps and bounds every day which makes us wonder what the situation will turn out to be within a month hence. Though it has been about a moth since the first Omicron case was detected in Nepal, fresh spiraling of infections started to happen two and half weeks ago with the detection of two dozen cases on January 7. Since then, the spread has been advancing at an alarming rate.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has expressed his deep worries over the rapid spread of the virus in reference to the fact that even people who were already vaccinated for COVID-19 are being infected. This calls for new scientific research on the effectiveness of the vaccines already developed and the need to develop new ones to battle Omicron. In this regard, the Prime Minister has instructed the Ministry of Health and Population to look where the vaccines against this new mutant are available and the possibility to get them in time. As soon as such shots are available the nation should not make delay to procure them and make available to the citizens. At a time when we have already learned lessons from the negative impacts of full lockdown on the national economy and livelihood of common citizens, smart lockdown is being applied as a practical alternative.

Rather than bringing daily life activities to a grinding halt, the new strategy against the virus has been partial restrictions along with the vaccination of the entire eligible populace and adhering to the recommended health protocols. Every citizen should take the safety rules seriously because washing hands regularly or not doing it can make a huge difference. Sometimes this difference can be between life and death. Same is true with vaccination because unvaccinated people are going through critical symptoms or have succumbed to virus while the inoculated ones are safer with milder symptoms and quicker recovery. In this regard, the Prime Minister’s emphasis on vaccines is remarkable and crucial.

The rate of infection we have seen in the past weeks proves that this mutant of the virus is immensely contagious. It has defied our ability of contact tracing. Its rapidity of infection calls for our stricter ways of keeping a distance, using face masks, applying sanitizer and hand washing. The denser the population, the riskier we are. Infection data proves this fact. Out of total number of daily infections nationwide, about 50 per cent is concentrated in the Kathmandu Valley. Crowds in the capital’s marketplaces compounded with people’s carelessness about safety rules have taken their tolls. Fortunately, fatalities are low. But this should never make us complacent.