Pakistan detects first case of Indian Covid-19 variant

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    ISLAMABAD: The National Institute of Health (NIH) on Friday confirmed the first case of the more contagious COVID-19 variant discovered in India, ARY News reported.

    The NIH spokesman said that Indian strain was found in samples the NIH received for testing. The NIH also confirmed seven cases of South African Covid-19 variant detected in Pakistan in the ongoing month.

    The spokesperson said they were continuously monitoring different Covid variants.

    Stressing that following SOPs is the first line of defence, the NIH spokesperson urged people to adhere to health guidelines, including wearing masks and social distancing, to keep the deadly disease at bay.

    Earlier, Sindh Health Minister Dr. Azra Pechuhu said in a video message had that at least 10 British, two South African, and one Brazilian virus variants have been detected in Karachi.

    What is the India variant?

    Viruses mutate all the time, producing different versions or variants of themselves.

    Most of these mutations are insignificant – and some may even make the virus less dangerous – but others can make it more contagious and harder to vaccinate against.

    This variant – officially known as B.1.617 – was first detected in India in October.

    Read More: Brazilian, South African variants of Covid-19 found in Pakistan

    According to a World Health Organization report, the coronavirus variant first detected in India has now been officially recorded in 53 territories.

    The WHO has received information from unofficial sources that the B.1.617 variant has been found in seven further territories, figures in the UN health agency’s weekly epidemiological update showed, taking the total number to 60.

    Pakistan vaccination drive

    The government has started registering citizens aged 19 and above for vaccination against Covid-19. People in the age bracket of 19 to 30 years can register themselves by sending their CNIC number to 1166.

    The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) decided on Friday to allow walk-in vaccination of citizens above 30 years of age from tomorrow.

    “In the NCOC meeting today it was decided to open up walk in vaccination for 30 plus from tomorrow,” Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, tweeted.

    The county’s Drug Regulatory Authority had already granted go-ahead to the locally made COVID-19 vaccine PakVac. Locally made coronavirus vaccine PakVac would be available for general use in the ongoing week.

    Pakistan Covid cases

    Pakistan continues to witness a downward trend of coronavirus cases and deaths as the country reported 67 deaths over the past 24 hours.

    According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data, 67 more people died of the infection, raising the death toll to 20,607.

    A total of 51,625 samples were tested, out of which 2,482 turned out to be positive. The positivity ratio of new infections was recorded at 4.80%, the NCOC said.

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