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Pakistan

Web Desk
May 1, 2021

Dr Sultan urges Pakistanis to get vaccinated as coronavirus variants emerge

Web Desk
Sat, May 01, 2021
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan speaks during a video statement. — YouTube

Pakistanis "can get vaccinated with full confidence with any of the available vaccines in Pakistan", Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan said on Saturday.

Dr Sultan's comments came after the country reported the detection of the South African and Brazilian coronavirus strains. The special assistant said some variants increase the chance of reinfection, and urged people to get inoculated.

The special assistant noted all viruses evolve with time and as a result, new forms of the virus are witnessed.

He said a few days back, a COVID-19 variant was found in the United Kingdom, which was termed as B117 and it is present in several countries.

Talking about the South African variant, B1351, he said that studies had found that this form of coronavirus spreads faster than other variants.

Arrival of variants in Pakistan

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination said the South African and Brazil variants of coronavirus had been detected in the country, urging people to continue taking precautions and register for a vaccine.

It said that the health authorities and the National Command and Operation Centre are regularly monitoring COVID-19 variants of concern.

“As a result of this proactive effort, one sample of the SARS-COV-2; B.1.351 ("South African" variant) and one sample of SARS-COV-2; P1 ("Brazil") variant have been detected at the National Institute of Health through genome sequencing.”

According to officials of the National Institute of Health, the B.1.351 variant was detected in a sample taken from a man belonging to Mianwali while the P1 virus was identified from a person whose test was conducted at Islamabad’s Poly Clinic.

The NIH officials maintained that these strains spread at a fast pace and it is premature to say about the vaccine efficacy against these variants.

“The authorities are actively engaged in contact tracing of these positive cases,” the ministry added.

Regardless of which variants have been detected, the SOPs recommended globally continue to be our first line of defence against the coronavirus, it added.

“Please ensure that you wear a mask, practise social distancing, and do not leave your home unnecessarily.”

Sindh reports presence of SA, Brazilian variants

In a video message on Friday, Sindh Minister for Health Dr Azra 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.

"So you can understand the nature of the emergency, the pressure that it can cause on hospitals. The UK variant is one that spreads very fast. It has an infectivity rate of 60% and a fatality rate of 68%," she said, adding that the fatality rates of the South African and Brazilian variants are also "very high".