Pak minister says third wave of covid has started, terms situation ‘very dangerous’

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Pakistan’s minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Thursday said that the third wave of the coronavirus has started in the country and termed the situation as very dangerous.

Speaking on DawnNews TV show Zara Hut Kay, Umar, who is heading Pakistan’s response to the coronavirus, said there was “no doubt” that the third wave had started and cited the spread of the coronavirus variant from the United Kingdom as the reason behind it.

“The phenomenon that is driving [the third wave] is the spread of the UK strain.” He said that when the government looked at districts where a higher number of cases were reported, it found that these were areas where a large population of Pakistanis residing in Britain lived.

“We asked NIH (National Institute of Health) to do genome sequencing and first we saw [the UK strain] in areas in north Pakistan, including Islamabad. After that, we also did [genome sequencing] for the rest of the country.

“The dominant strain at this time is the UK strain,” he added.

“Our own statistics from the last few weeks show a sustained increase in our case fatality rate (the number of patients who succumbed to the virus from the total number infected). At the time, we were speculating that it may be linked to the UK strain. But now the research report is here which establishes [the link],” the minister said, terming it a “very dangerous situation”.

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