pakistan
Tuesday Jan 04 2022
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50% COVID-19 cases in Sindh are Omicron variant: govt

In the last few days, Pakistan has also seen a gradual uptick in the coronavirus caseload, as on Sunday it recorded 708 new cases, the highest in over two months.-File photo
In the last few days, Pakistan has also seen a gradual uptick in the coronavirus caseload, as on Sunday it recorded 708 new cases, the highest in over two months.-File photo

KARACHI: Amid warnings from the country’s top COVID-19 body of a fast spread of the virus in the country, the Sindh government Monday said that the prevalence of the Omicron variant has reached up to 50% in the province, especially in Karachi.

According to provincial health authorities, 351 samples of COVID-19 positive cases were analyzed, of which 175 people were found to be infected with the Omicron variant.

At a high-level meeting to discuss the virus spread in the province, the Sindh Health department informed Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah about the worsening situation of the coronavirus pandemic driven by the new variant.

It was also pointed out that out of 175 people, few had travel history predominantly from the UK, Dubai, USA, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Nairobi and Angola.

Presided over by the chief minister, the meeting was attended by Minister Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Adviser Law Murtaza Wahab, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Soomro, acting Chief Secretary Qazi Shahid Pervez, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Health Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Dr Bari of Indus Hospital and other concerned officials.

During the meeting, it was pointed out that the number of coronavirus cases has started increasing during the last 30 days -- Dec 3, 2021, to Jan 2, 2022. On December 3, 2021, 261 new cases were detected, which kept on showing an upward trend and finally on January 2, 2022, reached 403.

The chief minister said that the situation was critical and urged the health department to start an extensive vaccination drive and increase tests of people all over Sindh.

He urged the people of the province to adopt preventive measures; otherwise, his government would have to take strict measures.

The meeting was told that during the last 30 days -- Dec 4, 2021, to Jan 1, 2022 -- 51 patients died, of them, 40 or 78% were on ventilators, six or 12% off ventilators, five or 10% at home.

To a question, the CM was told that so far 29,579,471 vaccine doses had been administered all over Sindh.

Later, Sindh government’s spokesman Barrister Murtaza Wahab said the provincial government does not want to impose strict measures in the province despite rising cases of COVID-19 due to the spread of Omicron variant and urged people to follow the SOPs, wear masks and avoid going to crowded places for their own safety.