Pakistan warns against new Covid Omicron wave, records most cases in two months

Minister urges people to strictly follow safety protocols, including wearing face masks.



Reuters file
Reuters file

By APP, Reuters

Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 11:48 AM

Pakistan Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, has warned against a new wave of the Covid-19 Omicron variant in the country.

He said there were clear evidence of a beginning of another coronavirus wave, which was expected for last few weeks.

“Genome sequencing showing rising proportion of Omicron cases particularly in Karachi,” he tweeted on Sunday.

The minister who is also Chairman of National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) advised the people to strictly follow Standard Operating Procedures, including wearing face masks.

Pakistan reported on Monday more than 700 Covid-19 cases in a single day, its highest tally in two months, as authorities warned of a fifth wave of infections and made preparations to try to contain the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

At least 708 cases in the past 24 hours pushed the positivity ratio to 1.55 per cent, the highest since October 24, according to data from the NCOC, which is overseeing the pandemic response.

Meanwhile addressing a press conference in Karachi, the minister added that the federal government had spent Rs250 billion from its budget to procure Covid-19 vaccines.

As per its target, the government had vaccinated over 70 million people in the country by December 31, 2021, he added.

The government authorised booster doses for citizens over the age of 30 from Monday. Children over the age of 12 are being offered vaccinations at their schools.

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The first case of the Omicron variant was reported on December 13 in Karachi and a total of 75 cases were confirmed up to December 27, according to National Institute of Health (NIH).

Twelve of the cases were linked to international travel, it said.

The provincial government of Sindh, of which Karachi is capital, is working on a strategy to contain the variant, which has included a partial lockdown of a Karachi neighbourhood last week after about a dozen Omicron cases were detected in a family.


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