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July 11, 2021

Spike in corona cases continues

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APP
July 11, 2021

Spike in corona cases continues

By M Waqar Bhatti

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Pakistan's daily coronavirus case load stayed over 1,500 for the fourth consecutive day after the country reported 1,828 new cases Saturday morning.

Another 35 people died of coronavirus in Pakistan in the last 24 hours, pushing the national death tally since the pandemic started to 22,555, reported Geo News.

While 11 percent positivity rate recorded in Karachi and 6 percent in Islamabad. Pakistan's positivity rate is closing in on 4%, with the current rate at 3.79%. The total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan are currently 36,454.

Latest data issued by the National Command and Operation Centre Saturday morning shows that after 48,134 tests were conducted on July 9, 1,828 people tested positive for coronavirus.

According to a province-wise breakdown, the total cases reported in Sindh so far are 345,269, in Punjab 347,793, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 139,162, in Islamabad Capital Territory 83,513, in Balochistan 27,863, in Gilgit-Baltistan 6,769 and in Azad Jammu and Kashmir 20,935. At least 912,295 people have recovered so far across Pakistan, making it a significant count. According to NCOC's figures, the total number of cases has reached 971,304.

While, the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 is not predominant in Karachi, according to a genome sequencing report prepared by the National Institute of Health (NIH) amid fears of the fourth wave starting in Pakistan. The UK or Alpha variant was predominant in Lahore, while all existing variants are being detected in Islamabad in equal proportions.

The report stated that the South African or Beta variant of SARS-CoV-2 is prevalent in Karachi, where some cases of the Indian or Delta variants have also been detected.

Health officials told The News that the UK or Alpha is the predominant variant of coronavirus in Lahore, adding that unfortunately all existing variants are being detected in Islamabad in equal proportions.

A senior official of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS, R&C) told the publication that 16 samples of coronavirus from Karachi were brought to NIH, Islamabad last week for genome sequencing. The official said that none of them contained the Delta or Indian variant. “All the samples from Karachi were of South African or Beta variant, which shows that the Delta variant is not the predominant variant in the port city,” the official said.

Similarly, he claimed that the UK or Alpha variant was predominant in Lahore, where the prevalence of the South African and Indian variants were comparatively less, but added that four variants of the coronavirus were present and spreading in the capital: the Wuhan, UK, South African and Indian variants.

Various proposals are under consideration to curb unnecessary movement on Eid, the statement had said, adding that the decision to implement the proposals will be made keeping the spread of the virus in view.

Meanwhile, the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said due to limited capacity of genome sequencing in Pakistan at the moment, they have decided to detect the Delta or Indian variant of SARS-CoV-2 through specifically-designed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits, which would be provided to most of the PCR labs in the coming days.

“At the moment, we have limited capacity of genome sequencing in Pakistan which is only available at National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad and Aga Khan University, Karachi. In order to overcome this issue, our experts have decided to detect the Delta or Indian variant through specially-designed PCR kits, which would be provided to labs conducting the PCS tests throughout the country”, Asad Umar said while talking to The News on Saturday in Karachi.

Confirming that Delta variant was more prevalent in Islamabad as compared to Karachi, he said in Beta or South African variant was predominant strain in the port city and added that they had limited data of virus prevalence in Lahore due to inadequate capacity to conduct genome sequencing of coronavirus in the country.