ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar has confirmed that the third wave of Covid-19 has started in Pakistan and attributed the rising number of cases to the UK strain.
According to the reports, Speaking to the private media, Umar said that “Yes, there is no doubt that the third wave has started and basically, the phenomena that’s driving it is the spread of the UK strain.”
The minister further said that the uptick in cases was witnessed in districts where a large portion of the Pakistan British community lives.
“We then asked NIH (National Institute of Health) to carry out genome sequencing, after which it became evident in northern Pakistan, including Islamabad,” said Umar.
Umar said that the new strain of the coronavirus was more transmissible than the original strain from Wuhan. The most recent research reports suggested that its mortality rate is also higher, he added.
“Our own statistics from the last few weeks show a sustained increase in our case fatality rate (the number of patients who succumbed to the virus from the total number infected). At the time, we were speculating that it may be linked to the UK strain. But now the research report is here which establishes [the link],” the minister said, terming it a “very dangerous situation”.
Earlier today, it was reported that Pakistan’s Covid tally crosses the 600,000 marks with 2,701 fresh cases. There are a total of 566,492 recoveries from the disease, while the number of deaths totals 13,377.
Previously, the second phase of Pakistan’s vaccination drive against coronavirus targeting people over the age of 60 started on Wednesday.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan also announced this news in his tweeter post stated that “Pak Covid-19 vaccination, next phase – starting 10 March, inshAllah. Beginning with the senior-most citizens, who will receive SMS with instructions on their cell phones.”
The ministry of national health also confirmed the Covid vaccination drive has begun. The people from federal capital above 60 years of age shall be jabbed free of cost in the fifteen vaccination centres put up across the city.
The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) had approved the Sinopham coronavirus vaccine for people above 60 years of age. The Sinopharm vaccine was being administered to people up to the age of 60 years, however, it would now be used to inoculate citizens above 60 years of age too.