'Pak hints at new wave of COVID-19; reports spike in numbers of Omicron cases'

Islamabad: Pakistan's Planning Minister Asad Umar has said that there are clear indications of the beginning of a new wave of the pandemic amidst a spike in the number of the new cases of COVID-19's Omicron variant in the country.

Umar, who is also the chief of the country's anti-pandemic body National Command and Opertion Centre (NCOC), also said that the country was taking all the measures required to contain the virus in the country.

Clear evidence now of a beginning of another Covid wave which has been expected for last few weeks. Genome sequencing showing rising proportion of Omicron cases particularly in Karachi, he said in a tweet.

Umar urged the people to remember wearing a mask is your best protection against the infection.

Pakistan has already braved four waves of the pandemic since the first case of the Coronavirus was reported on February 26, 2020.

Umar's tweet came days after the National Institute of Health (NIH) confirmed 75 cases of the Omicron strain of Covid-19 across the country.

Earlier the first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was reported on December 13 in Karachi.

As of December 27, 2021, a total of 75 Omicron cases have been confirmed 33 in Karachi, 17 in Islamabad and 13 in Lahore," according to the NIH statement.

Karachi city imposed a 15-day micro-smart lockdown in the city's District East on Saturday after the emergence of at least 12 cases of Omicron variant in the area.

Umar's latest warning of the new wave came as the country registered 594 new cases in the last 24 hours, the third consecutive day when more than 500 cases were detected, according to the Ministry of National Health Services.

The curve stayed flat for more than a month and half and suddenly began to rise on December 29 when 484 cases were registered.

Next day 515 new cases emerged, taking the positivity rate to 1.07 per cent, which had remained below one per cent for more than a month.

So far 1,296,527 confirmed cases have been detected but also 1,257,024 have recovered, while 28,941 patients died.

The authorities have also achieved the target of fully vaccinating 70 million people by the end of 2021 which is about 46 per cent of the population eligible for vaccination.

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