KP starts Covid screening at airport, border points amid fear of new variant

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has begun random screening at the Peshawar airport and on Afghan border crossings in the province as fear grows of the new Covid-19 variant emerged in China.

The development comes as the health department recorded six new coronavirus patients on Saturday.

In light of the development of a novel viral variety, provincial chief secretary Dr. Shahzad Khan Bangash has instructed the health department to maintain vigilance.

The health department conducted a meeting on Saturday to evaluate how authorities were prepared to stop the virus’s spread in accordance with the National Command and Operation Centre’s directives due to concerns about a new variety.

They said that risks of the people in the province from the new variant were low and that authorities were closely monitoring the situation.

The officials said that they’re taking all measures against Covid-19 in collaboration with the NCOC to ensure the people’s protection from the virus.

They said though new guidelines hadn’t been issued for the use of face masks, social distancing and washing of hands, the people were advised to take precautionary measures, especially those with comorbidities.

The officials stated that screening had started at the Torkham border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan and at the Bacha Khan International Airport, but that no cases had been detected as of yet.

They said that although genome sequencing of positive cases had begun at the Khyber Medical University in Peshawar’s Public Health Reference Lab, no one had yet been identified as carrying the novel variant.

The province, according to the officials, has 1,142 health facility-based vaccination centers, 33 mass vaccination centers, and 58 mobile vans for giving people the Covid-19 vaccine shot.

According to them, the province had also administered the first booster dose of the vaccine to 3.299 million persons and the second to 152,676 in order to protect them from the virus.

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