Pakistan confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus variant in the UK on Tuesday after identifying the strain in three samples from passengers who had returned from the UK, which is spreading much faster.
The Sindh health department said samples were taken from 12 returnees for genotyping, six of which tested positive.
“Samples from 3 British returnees show 95 percent agreement with the new coronavirus variant from Great Britain in the first phase of genotyping,” said a tweet.
The health department said the provincial government was tracking contacts from these patients and anyone who came in contact with them was isolated.
The new variant is considered 70 percent more transferable and has raised concerns around the world.
The development came when Pakistan extended a ban on British flights until January 4th. The ban was announced on December 21st.
Several countries have closed their borders with the UK and suspended flights as concerns grow over an “out of control” new variant of the coronavirus that is spreading much faster in parts of England.
The new variant is said to be 70 percent more transmissible, although health experts say there’s no evidence it’s more deadly or would react differently to vaccines.
63 more people have died in Pakistan in the past 24 hours, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 9,992. Another 2,259 patients were in critical condition, according to the Ministry of National Health Services.
The total number of COVID-19 infections has reached 475,085 after 1,776 new cases were found nationwide. A total of 425,494 people have recovered.
The authorities performed 30,666 tests in the last 24 hours and recorded a positivity rate of 5.44 percent.