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Lethal UK Variant Can Travel Without Flights, Enters Sindh Silently Despite Ban

Sindh health minister says variant is lethal and spreads faster, asks masses to follow SOPs during Eid

KARACHI: The UK variant of coronavirus, which is fuelling the ongoing third wave of Covid-19 in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkwa provinces, has reached Sindh, the provincial health officials confirmed on Wednesday.

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said that a genomic study conducted in Karachi had 50 samples confirming the UK variant of the virus. “This virus has reached Karachi now too,” she disclosed in a video message to the public.

Health Department spokesperson Mehar Khursheed said that the samples taken from the passengers coming to Karachi through domestic and international flights had 50% ratio of the UK variant. However, he added: “This is not overall ratio of [all] the positive cases in the province.”

Dr Pechuho warned that the UK variant was more lethal and spread more rapidly. She urged the general public to adhere to the virus-induced standard operating procedures (SOPs). “It is important [for the masses] to be cautious during the rush hours and adhere to the precautionary SOPs.”

Dr Pechuho also said that the designated vaccination centres across the province will remain open after Iftar and urged those above the age of 50 years to get themselves registered and get the vaccine shots so that they could remain safe from the virus.

Despite vigorous campaigns by the governments and official orders, the general public is rarely seen adhering to the guidelines issued by the health experts. The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Karachi, has warned that the people must take extra care following confirmation of the UK strain.

“The virus reached the port city at the same time when it entered Lahore and other parts of the country,” Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, the general secretary of the PMA Karachi claimed. “We [government] were in a state of denial,” he added.

Dr Shoro said the UK virus was deadlier than the Wuhan variant. “It is infecting and killing more people,” he added. He said that cases of reinfection were also being reported. “This time our kids are being infected and the situation will be more critical in coming days,” he warned.

The PMA official said that the doctors had already warned the government to take extra care. “Neither the government nor the public take the virus seriously,” he said, warning that the situation would be very critical in coming days if appropriate measures were not taken timely.

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