Staff Reporter Islamabad
Federal Minister Asad Umar has confirmed that the third wave of Covid-19 has started in Pakistan and attributed the rising number of cases to the virus’ UK strain.
“Yes, there is no doubt that the third wave has started and basically, the phenomena that’s driving it is the spread of the UK strain,” Umar said while talking to a private news channel.
When asked whether a third wave of the virus has started with the surge in the cases, Umar said that the uptick in cases was witnessed in districts where a large portion of the Pakistan British community lives.
“We then asked NIH to carry out genome sequencing, after which it became evident in northern Pakistan, including Islamabad,” said Umar, who also heads the country nerve centre for Covid-19 response.
Umar said that the new strain of the coronavirus was more transmissible than the original strain from Wuhan. The most recent research reports suggested that its mortality rate is also higher, he added.
“Our own statistics from the last few weeks show a sustained increase in our case fatality rate (the number of patients who succumbed to the virus from the total number infected).
At the time, we were speculating that it may be linked to the UK strain. But now the research report is here which establishes [the link],” the minister said, terming it a “very dangerous situation”.
Talking about neighbouring countries, India and Bangladesh, the minister noted that cases were increasing everywhere.
When asked about the number of Pakistanis who had been infected by the UK Covid-19 strain, Umar replied that the government could not do the genome sequencing of every positive test because it was a “cumbersome and expensive process”.
However, the government had done statistical analysis through sampling, Umar shared.