The National Institute of Health on Friday confirmed that the first case of the so-called Indian coronavirus variant has been detected in Pakistan.
An NIH statement confirmed seven cases of the South African variant and one case of the Indian COVID-19 variant in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, while speaking to Geo News, said that Karachi is seeing a rapid spread of the South African variant of the potentially deadly virus too.
“Most of the [South African variant] cases had been reported in children below the age of 2 years so parents should get themselves inoculated as soon as possible so that they do not contract the virus from their children,” Dr Pechuho said.
Serological research was carried out on 57 samples which revealed that out of the total, the South African and British variants comprised 71% and 20% cases in Karachi, respectively, the health minister said.
It may be recalled that the wife of one of the 12 Indian diplomats, who had recently visited Pakistan, had tested positive for coronavirus. All 12 Indian officials, along with their families, have been directed by the government to complete the quarantine period.
Back in April, Dr Pechuho has warned residents that they must take extra precaution in the wake of first the UK and the South African and Brazilian coronavirus variants being detected in the province.
In a video message released by the Health and Population Welfare Department of Sindh, Dr Pechuho had said that in a genomic study carried out by Aga Khan University Hospital of 13 samples, 10 were found to have the UK variant, one had the South African variant and one had the Brazilian variant.
Dr Pechuho had said that what adds to the concern is that the Sotuth African and Brazilian variants “are not vaccine responsive” and so someone who catches COVID-19 via one of these strains is likely to fall “very ill” despite being inoculated.
She had advised the masses to avoid crowds, including small social gatherings inside homes, as well as travelling unnecessarily.