ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has detected its first case of the Omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1, the National Institute of Health (NIH) announced on Monday, as the public gets back to routine life after Eidul Fitr without COVID-19 restrictions.
The institute — which has been looking after Covid-related matters since the National Command and Operation Centre was formally shut down — said the sub-variant was causing an “increasing number of cases in different countries”.
The best preventive measure (besides mask-wearing at crowded places) is COVID-19 vaccination. We strongly recommended getting vaccinated and all those due for boosters must get the shots immediately.
— NIH Pakistan (@NIH_Pakistan) May 9, 2022
The NIH advised people to take the best preventive measure to avoid contracting the virus, which is vaccination against it. “We strongly recommended getting vaccinated and all those due for boosters must get the shots immediately,” the tweet read.
The new Omicron sub-variant is a descendant of the earlier super-contagious “stealth Omicron” and has quickly gained ground in the United States.
BA.2.12.1 was responsible for 29 per cent of new US Covid-19 infections in April’s third week, according to data reported by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. And it caused 58pc of reported infections in the New York region.
The variant has been detected in at least 13 other countries, but the US has the highest levels of it so far. Scientists say it spreads even faster than stealth Omicron.
Pakistan reports 64 new COVID-19 cases
Pakistan reported 64 new COVID-19 cases overnight, official data issued by NIH showed Monday. With the fresh cases, the coronavirus positivity ratio stood at 0.49%. However, no deaths were reported during the last 24 hours.
Pakistanis have more or less not been following any COVID-19 related standard operating procedures since March 31, when the government scrapped all coronavirus restrictions across the country.
On March 31, Pakistan announced the closure of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the body which was set up in March 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to collect, analyse and process information, transferring all its functions, roles and responsibilities to the NIH.