Highly transmissible new variant of COVID - 19 reported in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD – The National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed the presence of the highly transmissible new variant of COVID-19 amongst two individuals who had returned from the UK.
This is in follow up to preliminary reports of the existence of B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant in three persons. The cases have now been confirmed via whole-genome sequencing.
Since the emergence of the new coronavirus variant in the UK, which was reported during December 2020, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination has required all inbound passengers from the UK to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 on arrival.
It is also of note that the variant virus reported in the UK has also been detected in 31 other countries so far.
The new SARS-CoV-2 variant ID B.1.1.7, was first discovered in the United Kingdom and appears to spread. Researchers believe it may have originated in a patient who had a long-running infection.
The new strain is believed to be 70 percent more contagious, but doctors have said there is no reason yet to believe that it is more lethal or will not be controlled by a vaccine.
Pakistan, Iran, India, and Saudi Arabia including other countries have imposed travel bans on the United Kingdom after the British government officially announced the detection of the new strain of the novel virus.