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Major upset as Pakistan confirms first case of Omicron

The Sindh Health Department said the patient arrived in Pakistan from abroad and tested positive. Interestingly, Sindh Parliamentary Health Secretary Qasim Siraj Soomro, while talking to the media, said that it was imminent that Omicron would reach Pakistan due to the ongoing flights. 

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Thursday, Pakistan reported its first case of the new covid variant Omicron. A private hospital in Karachi confirmed the first case of the variant in a female patient.

According to the Sindh Health Department, the patient arrived in Pakistan from abroad and tested positive. The rapid response team immediately took action for tracing, testing, quarantining, vaccination, and other preventive measures to control the infection’s spread as per the guidelines of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

Currently, efforts are underway to confirm whether there are more infections or not. Interestingly, Sindh Parliamentary Health Secretary Qasim Siraj Soomro, while talking to the media, said that it was imminent that Omicron would reach Pakistan due to the ongoing flights.

Read more: Omicron may halt companies plans to return to office

Moreover, he said that the current PCR kits available focus on the Delta variant. The Omicron variant is highly mutated which makes it difficult to detect.

Similarly, NCOC chief Asad Umar said that it is inevitable that the COVID-19’s Omicron variant will hit Pakistan because it is impossible to stop viruses from spreading in this world.

Speaking at a press conference last week, he said that the NCOC is taking steps to delay the arrival and minimize the impact of the new variant. “We are ramping up the number of coronavirus tests. We will conduct testing in the high-risk areas,” said Umar.

Sindh government imposes restrictions

According to details, the Sindh government’s new restrictions will prevail from December 1 to December 15. Important to note, the restrictions do not call for a complete lockdown yet.

As per a notification issued by the Sindh Home Department, Karachi Division Sukkur and Sanghar come under the category of “good vaccination progress.” Meanwhile, the remaining cities/divisions fall under the “low vaccination progress” category.

In the Sukkur and Sanghar cities and Karachi Division, permission has been granted for indoor gatherings of 500 individuals, and for outdoor gatherings of 1,000 fully vaccinated individuals.

Amusement parks and swimming pools will operate at 70pc occupancy in Karachi, Sukkur, and Sanghar and 50pc for the rest of the province.

Additionally, offices will follow routine timings with 100 percent attendance. However, the notification calls for full vaccination of all employees.

Read more: Oil prices climb over 2% amid Omicron concerns

Moreover, the business will remain open from 8 am till 10 pm. Lastly, the education sector will follow 100% attendance with a focused campaign to vaccinate students above 12 years of age.