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KARACHI: Four confirmed cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India have been reported in Sindh, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Soomro revealed on Monday.

"All the patients have been quarantined in Karachi and contact tracing has begun," he said. "They came back to Pakistan from multiple Gulf countries and tested positive at the airport," Soomro said and confirmed that the patients were doing fine.

In Sindh, we took samples of over 50 Covid-19 patients and found out that 75 percent of people tested positive for the South African variant. The remaining were UK, Brazilian and other strains. "People have criticised the Sindh government's lockdown in the province but we are only doing this to protect ourselves from a catastrophe," the secretary remarked.

Soomro stressed the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as possible. "We are going to remote areas in Sindh and are launching mobile vaccination centres so that everyone can be inoculated." He said, "All these rumors about the vaccines are false and people should not believe them."

Criticising the government, the secretary pointed out that the government has been incompetent in curbing the spread of the virus. "It is giving mixed signals to people."

On Friday, the health ministry confirmed the first Indian variant case in Pakistan. It said one case of the Indian variant and seven of the South African variants were found in samples collected three weeks ago.

Pakistan had placed a travel ban on April 20 on all incoming passengers from India over fears of the 'double mutant' coronavirus variant.

The Covid-19 variant first detected in India has now been officially recorded in 53 territories, a World Health Organisation report said last week.

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