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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has detected its first case of a new Omicron sub-variant, the National Institute of Health (NIH) reported on Monday, as the public gets back to routine life after Eidul Fitr celebrations without Covid-19 restrictions for the first time in two years.

A statement issued by the NIH on the social media site Twitter said it detected a case of Omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1 through genome sequencing. It said that the new sub-variant is causing an increasing number of Covid-19 cases in different countries.

The NIH advised people to take the best preventive measure to avoid contracting the virus, which is vaccination against it. “We strongly recommended getting vaccinated and all those due for boosters must get the shots immediately,” the NIH further said.

The Omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1 was detected in a traveller who had returned from Qatar. According to the director of health Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations, this sub-variant is seen in the recent spike in cases in the US. “The disease severity and hospitalization remain the same as Omicron but data is limited as of now.”

Two Omicron sub-variants driving S. Africa Covid spike: WHO

Pakistan reported 64 new Covid-19 cases overnight, official data issued by the NIH showed Monday. With the fresh cases, the coronavirus positivity ratio stood at 0.49 percent. However, no deaths were reported in the past 24 hours across the country.

Majority of Pakistanis have more or less not been following any Covid-19-related standard operating procedures (SOPs) since March 31, when the government scrapped all coronavirus restrictions across the country.

“The pandemic has not ended yet but undergoing the ending phase,” the then planning and development minister, Asad Umar, had said while announcing the decision. Owing to the significant declining trend in the Covid-19 cases in Pakistan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led former government also had abolished the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) which was established soon after the emergence of the coronavirus in Pakistan.

In March, the NCOC also lifted all coronavirus restrictions, including protocols for indoor dining, indoor wedding events and markets, sports activities and all the other SOPs across the country after reviewing the Covid-19 situation in the country in detail.

Meanwhile, the district health authorities, Islamabad, have urged the people to start taking preventive measures against the surge of the dengue virus. The District Health Officer (DHO) Islamabad, Dr Zaeem Zia, while issuing an advisory regarding dengue, has said, “Our health teams are working to mitigate the upcoming risk of dengue fever.”

Zia said that prevailing weather conditions are highly suitable for the dengue mosquito; please destroy water pools, stagnant water or open water carriers at your home or neighbourhood. Small actions can save lives.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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