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Pakistan closely monitoring cases of new COVID-19 variant: health ministry

ISLAMABAD: The health ministry has confirmed the presence of a new coronavirus variant in Pakistan and said that the authorities were closely monitoring the cases by using a modern surveillance system, ARY News reported on Saturday.

The health ministry has confirmed the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in Pakistan which was detected in the United Kingdom (UK) for the first time. In a declaration, the ministry said that the new SARS-CoV-2 variant is less deadly, however, it is fast-spreading.

It stated that the health authorities were using a modern surveillance system to hold close monitoring of the developments of the new variant of the coronavirus.

The nationals have been asked to strictly follow the guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) against COVID-19. The health authorities also instructed citizens to ensure being vaccinated in accordance with the prescribed time.

Read: NCOC eases Covid-19 restrictions, allows indoor weddings

Earlier in January, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had confirmed the two cases of the highly contagious coronavirus variant that first emerged in the UK have been detected in Pakistan.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) had examined a number of samples taken from the UK return travellers suspected to be carrying the new Covid-19 variant, out of which two matched with the variant, named B117.

The variant was first detected in Britain in December last year, the NCOC said, adding it has also been found in 31 other countries. It said Pakistani citizens returning from the UK need to take a mandatory PCR test for the new strain of the deadly virus.

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