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‘South African, Brazilian Covid variants found in Sindh’



KARACHI:

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho informed on Monday that the South African and Brazilian variants of the novel coronavirus disease have been found in samples taken by the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH).

In a video message posted on the Sindh Health and Population Welfare Department’s official Twitter account, the provincial health minister disclosed that the AKUH collected 13 samples to perform genomic study confirming the variants of the virus.

She added that out of these samples, 10 were of the UK variant, two of the South African variant while the other was found to be of the Brazilian variant.

Read UK variant confirmed in Sindh

Dr Pechuho said that these strands of Covid-19 have the potential to bring the current healthcare facilities to the brink of collapse.

She warned that the UK variant was more lethal and spread more rapidly, with around 60% infectivity rate and nearly 68% fatality rate once infected. The health minister added that the fatality rate for the South African and Brazilian strands was also high.

“This is an emergency as these variants are not vaccine responsive either,” Dr Pechuho claimed.

The health minister further added that the current vaccines being administered across the country may be effective against Covid-19 but are useless when it comes to these variants.“Therefore it is important for everyone to take all necessary precautions & take this seriously,” Dr Pechuho asserted.

According to the Sindh health department’s tweet, “Dr Pechuho strongly recommended avoiding crowds & even small social gatherings, as well as travelling unncessarily.”

She warned that if the necessary precautions were not taken, the country could face a humanitarian crisis like that of India.

Read more Sindh’s Covid-19 positivity rises to 7%

Earlier on Wednesday, the provincial health officials confirmed the UK variant of coronavirus, which is fuelling the ongoing third wave of Covid-19 in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkwa provinces, reaching Sindh.

Pechuho said that a genomic study conducted in Karachi had 50 samples confirming the UK variant of the virus. “This virus has reached Karachi now too,” she disclosed in a video message to the public.

Health Department spokesperson Mehar Khursheed said that the samples taken from the passengers coming to Karachi through domestic and international flights had 50% ratio of the UK variant. However, he added: “This is not overall ratio of [all] the positive cases in the province.”





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