Pakistan said on Monday that the country has not yet reported a new “Indian strain” of the coronavirus – a “double-mutant” variant – considered to be responsible for a recent spike in infections in India.
Syed Sajid Shah, a spokesman for the Health Ministry, told reporters on Monday that the country is still “safe” from the Indian variant. Cases of the UK variant of the virus, however, are being reported, he added.
Pakistan has already banned land and air travel from India, citing concerns about the spread of the latest coronavirus variant.
The two South Asian nuclear rivals have been grappling with a devastating COVID-19 wave, while the situation in Pakistan has been considered relatively better compared to India, where hospitals are reportedly running out of beds and oxygen supplies.
On Monday, India set a new record globally by registering over 350,000 cases in a single day.
A day earlier, New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that the lockdown will be extended for another week. He said the current oxygen demand is 700 tons, but they are only receiving 330 to 335 tons per day.
Robust & calculated response against Covid19 by Federal and provincial governments. Prime Minister, CMs, NCOC, Army in proactive mode. Though difficult to enforce country wide SOPs, yet let us do our best against deadly third Covid19 wave. 🇵🇰#COVID19 #SecondWave #SOPs pic.twitter.com/8l6gQrsFJ0— Lt Gen (Retd) M Haroon Aslam, (@AVeteran1956) April 26, 2021
Pakistan reported nearly 5,000 infections and 70 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, while health authorities warned of a situation similar to that in India if the cases continued to rise at the current rate in the coming weeks.
The interior ministry issued a notification on Sunday allowing the provinces and federal territories to seek the help of the army to enforce SOPs.
On Monday, Pakistan reported 4,825 new infections as total cases crossed the 800,000 mark.
During the last 24 hours, 50,161 tests were conducted. The national positivity rate was recorded as 9.61 per cent. The total number has risen to 800,452, while the death toll is 17,187.
Last week, Pakistan recorded 157 deaths in a single day — the highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk