ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) Chief Asad Umar on Friday, has directed all those unvaccinated citizen not to visit northern areas unless they get jabbed. During a media brief, Umar said that caution is needed during the Eid holidays “so that your entertainment does not become the cause of someone’s death”. The NCOC chief also stated that those who do not get vaccinated are seven times more likely to get COVID-19 than those who get both doses. “Please get vaccinated,” he urged. He stated that the risk of getting infected with coronavirus is significantly reduced after vaccination and even if one gets the virus after vaccination, they will remain safe from serious illness and death. Umar said that so far, 22.1 million people have been vaccinated. Threat of the Delta variant Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said today that everyday around 2,500 new cases are being recorded. He warned that the Delta (Indian) variant of the virus is spreading fast and appealed to the nation to ensure they wear masks in the presence of other people. Last week, Umar had warned with fourth wave of COVID-19 with emerging early signs there are clear early signs starting in Pakistan due negligence with respect to standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the spread of the Delta variant. Three days ago the Federal Parliamentary Health Secretary Dr Nausheen Hamid had said that the Delta variant has been found to make up 50% of the total infections in Pakistan. In Karachi, out of 163 positive cases reported on Thursday, 65 turned out to belong to the Delta variant. This has alarmed the Sindh government to put a ban on indoor restaurants, amusement parks, water parks, tourists spots, cinemas, gyms and indoor games. Schools have also been shut across the province. Students of grade nine and above will appear for exams, after which schools will remain closed for them as well. The World Health Organisation estimates Delta is 55% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which was itself around 50% more transmissible than the original Wuhan virus. That translates to Delta’s effective reproductive rate (the number of people on average a person with the virus will infect, in the absence of controls such as vaccination) being five or higher. This compares to two to three for the original strain. Positivity ratio climbing The country reported a jump in the coronavirus positivity ratio today, which has now climbed to 6.17%. The last time Pakistan crossed the 6% positivity ratio mark was almost two months ago, on May 22, when the country recorded a positivity ratio of 6.43%. According to the NCOC, another 31 people died from coronavirus in the country in the last 24 hours. The country’s apex COVID-19 body said that 37,690 COVID-19 tests were conducted across Pakistan in this period, of which 2,327 came back positive. The death toll from the virus has risen to 22,720, while the number of affected people has reached 983,719. The number of active cases in the country stands at 43,670.