Pakistan is closely monitoring a new strain of coronavirus, the government says

Reuters illustration of a new coronavirus.
  • The new strain has not yet been identified
  • The government is closely monitoring the situation
  • All travelers coming from the UK are rated

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services has rejected rumors that a new strain of the new coronavirus, identified in Britain, has been discovered in Pakistan.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the ministry said the situation in Pakistan is being monitored by assessing all travelers coming from the UK.

“As of today, no such variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in Pakistan,” the text reads. “The National Institutes of Health is also sensitive and alert to this new strain for timely detection and addressing.”

Read also: Has a new strain of coronavirus reached Pakistan?

Meanwhile, a total of 2,152 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, increasing the national amount to 467,222. With 85 new deaths, the number of coronavirus deaths reached 9,753. So far, a total of 418,958 people have recovered from the virus, while the active number of cases is 38,511.

New coronavirus

A new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic is spreading rapidly in Britain and is causing high concern in the world in some countries, including Pakistan, by introducing a travel ban to Great Britain.

The strain, which some experts call the B.1.1.7 lineage, is not the first new variant of the pandemic virus to appear, but it is said to be up to 70% more transmissible than the previously dominant strain in the United Kingdom.

The main concern is that the variant is significantly more transmissible than the original strain. It has 23 mutations in its genetic code – a relatively high number of changes – and some of them affect its ability to spread.

Scientists say that about 40% -70% is more portable.

Read more: Pakistan updates travel restrictions for incoming travelers from the UK

Will the vaccine work?

Scientists say there is no evidence that vaccines currently in use in the UK – made by Pfizer and BioNtech – or other injections of developing COVID-19 will not protect against this variant.

At least four drug manufacturers expect their vaccines against COVID-19 to be effective against a new version of the virus that is spreading rapidly and is raging in Britain and are conducting tests that should provide confirmation in a few weeks.

With additional input from Reuters.