KARACHI – Health officials in Pakistan announced that the South African and Brazilian variant of Covid-19 has been detected for the first time in the country, a spokesperson for the National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed Saturday.
Mutated strains were found in samples the NIH received for testing, raising fears that these variants with a higher mortality rate could put a strain on the country’s already overwhelmed health facilities.
Earlier, Sindh provincial health minister Dr. Azra Fazl Pechuho Friday said that the variants, which were more lethal than the original variant of the novel disease have been detected in samples collected by Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH).
Speaking in a video message, Pechuho said at least 10 British, two South African, and one Brazilian virus variants have been detected in the Sindh capital Karachi.
South African & Brazilian variant of COVID-19 found in samples taken by AKU. This is an emergency as these variants are not vaccination responsive either. Therefore it is important for everyone to take all necessary precautions & take this seriously. #SindhHealth pic.twitter.com/F6IRNDTyBQ
— Health and Population Welfare Department, Sindh (@SindhHealthDpt) April 30, 2021
Adding that the mutated variants from these countries have a higher mortality rate, and the efficacy of the vaccine is not that significant against them. Those infected by these strains could fall critically ill despite being vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has notified the restricted air travel to the country according to which it significantly reduced international air travel from other countries from May 4 to 20 as inbound air traffic will remain at 20 percent amid a recent surge around the globe.