New COVID Wave In Pakistan?

New COVID Wave In Pakistan?
According to Pakistan's National Institutes of Health (NIH), at least 109 people tested positive for COVID in 5,320 tests across the country during the past 24 hours. As such, the COVID-19 positivity ratio was recorded at 2.05%. The steady reports of new COVID cases daily may be indicative of a new wave of the coronavirus that Pakistan could soon be afflicted by.

Pakistan has reported no death in the last 24 hours due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, or its variants, while the number of confirmed positive cases surged to 1,578,156. Nationwide fatalities caused by COVID-19 stood at 30,645 as on Saturday, March 18, 2023.

This is a nominal improvement from yesterday, when the COVID-19 positivity ratio was at 2.70% and 133 cases tested positive out of 4,917 tests carried out during that 24 hour period.

Fears are mounting that the global pandemic, which brought economies to a standstill in 2020, may be returning to Pakistan, as political parties are expected to start campaigning for provincial elections which are due in the end of April. Variants of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, which are expected to be more transmissible and more resistant to the existing vaccines, are suspected to have been contracted by the local population ever since international travel was re-opened in 2022.

Earlier, in January 2023, Pakistan confirmed that Omicron's subvariant XBB was found to be present in Pakistan. COVID-19 Omicron XBB is one of the three dominant strains of the novel coronavirus in China.

The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), Pakistan's federal COVID-19 management task force now subsumed by the NIH, has issued revised guidelines up to April 30. The NIH has recommended that the general public wear masks at "crowded tightly enclosed spaces including healthcare facilities".

Scientists at Aga Khan University have confirmed to media that they detected and reported the XBB sub-variant of the Omicron variant to Pakistani authorities. However, they had not yet seen the other two sub-variants, including BF.7, in the country so far.