Islamabad : Pakistan on Thursday reported its first case of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Sindh province.
A private hospital in the city of Karachi reported the first case of the variant in a 65-year-old female patient, Geo News reported citing the provincial health department. The Sindh health department said that the patient had arrived in the country from abroad. The patient, who is unvaccinated, has no symptoms of the virus.
Qasim Siraj Soomro, Sindh Parliamentary Health Secretary, told Geo Pakistan that it was imminent that Omicron would reach Pakistan.
"At the international level, several PCR tests were not positive in patients who were later diagnosed with Omicron infection. The new virus is highly mutated."
This development comes as Omicron has been reported in 57 countries, and World Health Organization (WHO) expects the number to continue growing.
Features of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, including the extent to which it will spread, and the sheer number of mutations, suggest that it could have a major impact on the course of the pandemic, according to WHO.
During Wednesday's latest weekly briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus highlighted "a consistent picture of the rapid increase in transmission" but said that the exact rate of increase relative to other variants remains difficult to quantify.
Despite some data from South Africa suggesting an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, more data is needed, UN News reported. Experts believe that the variant might also cause milder disease than Delta, but there is no definitive answer yet.