Urging people not to take the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 lightly, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on health Dr. Faisal Sultan on Tuesday said there will be some increase in hospitalisation of patients in the next one to two weeks and urged people to wear masks, avoid crowds and get vaccinated at the earliest. It takes 1-2 weeks for hospitalisations to go up, says the health minister as Omicron cases rise.

So far Pakistan has recorded 372 cases of the Omicron variant, Dr Faisal Sultan, told Reuters.

“It’s still a bit early to draw conclusions since it takes 1-2 weeks for hospitalisations to go up. Also, let us see how the virus behaves regarding virulence”, Dr Sultan said when asked as to why hospitalisations were not going up in Karachi despite an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases due to the spread of the Omicron variant.


“At the moment, we are receiving one or two patients with Covid-19 on daily basis, but so far, we have not found anybody infected with Omicron Variant of the Covid-19”, Dr Abdul Wahid Rajput, Medical Superintendent of the Infectious Diseases Hospital, affiliated with Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) told The News.

 “There will be some increase in hospitalisation. How much, depends on the degree of spread and infection. International evidence suggests it spreads fast; how much serious sickness it causes will be evident in a week or two (for us)”, Dr Sultan added.

“What I would say is this: we should not take it lightly”, he warned.

When asked if the government was worried about the low vaccination rate in major cities, including Karachi and Lahore, he said: “We want it (vaccination) higher for sure. I am happy that the vaccination rates picked up with time but we still have some distance to still go. So I would not say I am worried but that we need to enhance the numbers further.”

“Masks. Masks. Masks. Avoid crowds. Vaccinate. Ventilate,” was his advice to people in Karachi.