Monday May 31 2021
Web Desk

COVID-19: Pakistan detects four more cases of Indian variant

Web Desk
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KARACHI: Four more cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus (B.1.617.2) have been detected in Pakistan, taking the number of such cases to five, Sindh Health Secretary Kazim Jatoi said Monday.

All four people had returned from the Gulf and tested positive upon arrival at the Karachi airport.

"Three of them had come from Iraq while another arrived from Muscat," Jatoi said, adding that three belong to Karachi and one is from Ghotki.

They have been quarantined and tests of their family members are also being conducted, he said.

On Sunday, the National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed the detection of the first COVID-19 infection with the Indian variant.

According to details shared by the NIH, the variant was detected in a 39-year-old, asymptomatic Pakistani individual, who was a resident of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and was returning home from a Gulf country.

The case was detected through the screening system put in place for international arrivals as he landed on May 8 and showed a positive rapid test conducted at the airport.

As per the government's standard operating procedures (SOPs), the infected individual was quarantined at a government facility where additional testing (PCR) confirmed the presence of an Indian variant of coronavirus.

The individual, however, only showed mild symptoms during the quarantine period and was allowed to go home. He has completely recovered from the virus and has completed the mandatory isolation with further advice per medical protocols.

Pursuant to the confirmation of the B.1.617.2 (Indian) variant, the investigation team traced his family and close contacts in the district of residence obtaining samples, all of which tested negative for COVID-19. The NIH team is further tracing back his potential contacts during air travel to rule out the possibilities of infections.

Appreciating the efficient screening and isolation system put in place for international travellers, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination has stressed airlines strictly enforce SOPs for travellers, including presenting a mandatory test report from an authentic lab in the country of origin.

The ministry has further urged the general public to strictly observe advised precautionary measures to protect themselves.