First case of Indian variant reported

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Staff Reporter
Islamabad

Pakistan has reported its first confirmed case of a coronavirus variant first identified in India, the federal health ministry said on Friday.

The Indian variant case was detected by the National Institute of Health which conducted whole-genome sequencing of SARS CoV-2 samples collected during the first three weeks of May 2021, health ministry spokesperson Sajid Shah said in a statement.

“The sequencing results confirmed [the] detection of seven cases of B.1.351 (South African variant) and one case of B.1.617.2 (Indian variant),” the statement said, adding that this was the first in-country detection of the Indian strain.

Shah said in accordance with protocols, the contact tracing of all the cases was in progress by the Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division and the Islamabad district health officer.

“Continued detection of global strains highlights the ongoing need for observation of guidelines, usage of masks and [the] need for vaccination,” he added. The World Health Organisation had earlier this month classified the B.1.617 strain as a variant of global concern.