Pakistan confirms first case of Omicron variant

Pakistan has reported the first case of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, foreign media confirmed Thursday.

According to the health authorities of the Sindh Province, a private hospital in Karachi reported the first case of the variant in a female patient.

The Sindh Health Department has disclosed that the 65-year-old patient, with no travel history, is currently isolating at home, The News International reported.

The health authorities have added that efforts are underway to conduct contact tracing to confirm whether there are more infections or not.

Reportedly, the patient was unvaccinated and had no symptoms of COVID-19 infection. The Deputy Commissioner of East Karachi has been asked for a micro smart lockdown in the area.

“Four persons were tested to confirm Omicron presence out of which results of two returned positive while the report of one patient is awaited,” the statement said.

The health official added that two of them have been sent home while the rest are still hospitalised. Only one person out of these four tested had been vaccinated.

Speaking to Geo Pakistan earlier today, Sindh Parliamentary Health Secretary Qasim Siraj Soomro said that it was imminent that Omicron would reach Pakistan as flights are continue.

“At the international level, several PCR tests were not positive in patients who were later diagnosed with Omicron infection. The new virus is highly mutated.”

He added that the PCR kits that we have are focused on the Delta variant.

Steps taken to counter Omicron threat

Pakistan’s national apex COVID-19 body had already taken measures to control the spread of the Omicron variant in the country and announced a massive vaccination plan that started from Dec 1.

In a meeting of Islamabad-based National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) held earlier this month, it was decided to inoculate booster shots to immunocompromised people, healthcare workers and those aged over 50 years in Pakistan.

The forum had also tightened travel restrictions banning passengers to Pakistan from 15 countries including southern African nations and making COVID-19 testing and vaccination for inbound travellers from Category B countries.

It was also emphasised during the NCOC meeting that the Omicron variant is spreading fast across the globe and the only protection against it is vaccination and following basic SOPs, including the wearing of face masks, practising social distancing and washing hands.

The NCOC had agreed to take strict measures regarding the obligatory vaccination regime. It was decided that the vaccination teams should be deployed at various public spots to vaccinate the individuals on the spot.

The forum had instructed the country’s provinces and authorities concerned to show a “zero tolerance” policy regarding an obligatory vaccination regime.

Source: The News International

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