Pakistan on Thursday reported its first "suspected" case of the new omicron variant of coronavirus in the port city of Karachi.
In a statement, Azra Pechuho, the health minister of Sindh province, said "the way the virus is behaving, it seems it is omicron," but a genomic study is being carried out for confirmation.
The patient is a 57-year-old woman from the provincial capital, she said. "The omicron variant is highly transmissible, but recent reports from South Africa suggest that the variant does not cause serious illness or a high number of deaths."
"There is no cause for concern. We are conducting a genomic study which will take one or two weeks," the minister said.
Earlier, a ministry spokesperson said the condition of the patient, who was unvaccinated, is stable, and she has isolated herself at home. She did not have a travel history.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Health, an autonomous body of the federal Health Ministry, also said in a tweet that "the sample is not yet confirmed to be omicron via whole genome sequencing, which is to be performed after obtaining the sample."
Pakistan, a country of over 200 million people, has fully vaccinated over 24% of its population. As a counter measure against omicron, it has already banned in-bound passengers from a number of countries including South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.
South African scientists announced on Nov. 24 the discovery of the variant, which has several mutations.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said the new variant, which it had declared a "variant of concern," has been detected in 57 countries so far.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.