Pakistan has recorded 372 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus till now, as per the data of the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination.
The country confirmed its first case of a highly infectious variant in Karachi, its most populous city, on December 13. Three weeks later, this variant, first reported by South Africa and Botswana, has spread to their major cities.
The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant to Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, confirmed to Geo.tv that so far, 372 infections of this variant have been recorded. Most cases occurred in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Dr. Sultan added: “It [Omicron] is now in most large countries and it accounts for an increasing proportion of detected cases.”
On November 26, the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated the Omicron “a variant of concern”. Later, in a press briefing, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, told reporters that the Omicron is spreading at a rate in the world not seen with any previous variant.
“We’re concerned that people are dismissing Omicron as mild. Surely, we have learned by now that we underestimate this virus at our peril,” he said.
As per a tally by the New York Times, the variant has already spread to 110 countries around the world. In fact, a month after it was identified, it became the most dominant variant in circulation in the United States.
In the past few days, the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has gradually increased, with 708 new cases recorded on Sunday, the highest in more than two months. On the same day, at a press conference, Federal Minister Asad Umar also warned that there were “clear signs of a new wave of viruses” in the country.
Separately, Dr. Sultan has tweeted about an “unmistakable upward trend” in the positivity rate of the country in the last six days.