After fresh detection, can Covid-19 rear its ugly head again in Pakistan?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad and the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) on Tuesday confirmed the presence of the XBB variant of Covid-19 in Pakistan.

The variant was identified through genome sequencing. Officials from both institutions have not yet confirmed the presence of the BF.7 variant in the country.

However, former health advisor Dr Faisal Sultan and Dr Faisal Mehmood Mahir Khan from the University of Karachi believe that it is likely the BF.7 variant has also reached Pakistan.

Despite the presence of these new variants, officials and experts do not believe there is a major threat of contagion threat in Pakistan.

They attribute this to the immunity of Pakistanis, which is believed to be much better than in other countries.

This is supported by the relatively low number of Covid-19 cases in the country, with only 15 cases reported today and a positive rate of 104%.

Health experts have assured the public that there is no possibility of a China-like situation arising in Pakistan due to the coronavirus.

Moreover, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stated that the situation of Covid-19 in the country is under control with the grace of Allah.

In order to further prevent the spread of the virus, the prime minister has called for the 100% vaccination of children aged 5 to 12 years on an emergency basis.

In addition, the premier has emphasized the importance of effective screening of arrivals and departures at Pakistan’s borders and airports.

He also expressed happiness that there has not been a single death due to pandemic virus in Pakistan in the past 15 weeks.

He expressed gratitude to the vaccine donor countries for their assistance in the country’s efforts to combat the virus.

Despite the low rate of infection, PM Shehbaz urged the people to remain vigilant and prepared for any potential resurgence of the virus.

NIH dismisses presence of new variant

National Institute of Health (NIH) Executive Director Aamer Ikram on Tuesday denied all reports surrounding the presence of new variants of coronavirus in the country.

“No cases of a new variant of Covid have been reported,” the NIH official said while adding that all “arrangements have been completed to combat the new variant” should a case emerge.

According to a National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) official, new variants have also come in the past, but they were controlled in time. “We are fully prepared to tackle and control any variant.”

Reports suggest the coronavirus strain spreading in China is a sub-variant of the highly infectious Omicron variant: BF.7 or BA.

Yesterday, while chairing a review meeting on the virus situation, NDMA Chairman Lt-Gen Inam Haider Malik had instructed the NIH to issue necessary guidelines for educational institutions, social gatherings and communities.

Meanwhile, at least 29 Omicron infections have been reported in a week across the country as reports of a new wave of Covid have emerged.

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