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Pakistan PM Imran Khan, wife test positive for coronavirus

He is self-isolating at home

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 20, 2021 | Last Updated: 9 months ago
Posted: Mar 20, 2021 | Last Updated: 9 months ago

Photo: Online

Pakistan PM Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi have tested positive for COVID-19. They are self-isolating at home.

The news was confirmed by PM’s aide on health Dr Faisal Sultan and PTI Senator Faisal Javed.

The premier has mild cough and fever, and hasn’t shown any severe symptoms yet, said Dr Shahbaz Gill, the special assistant on political communication.

PM Khan visited the Malakand University on Friday and also inaugurated the Swat Expressway project. He held a meeting with Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan and chaired a special meeting on the price of wheat.

Talking to SAMAA TV on Saturday, Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar said that the prime minister is physically fit and will recover soon.

“We have a standard contract tracing system,” he said. “All those people who came in contact with the PM in the last few days will be tested for the virus.”

He warned that the third wave of the novel coronavirus is more dangerous because of the UK variant and advised people to religiously follow the government’s standard operating procedures.

“In an NCOC meeting earlier in the day, we decided to stop the flights from South Africa and Brazil.” Umar remarked that as Ramazan is coming up, people need to be extra careful and listen to doctors. “No one else will benefit from it except you.”

Indus Hospital’s Dr Abdul Bari warned that the UK variant poses 70% more threat. “I would suggest the government imposes restrictions on international and intra-city travel immediately.”

The third wave is spreading quickly, Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said while speaking to SAMAA TV. “I didn’t take it seriously until I contracted it. People have to be careful and it is our national duty to spread awareness now.”

He remarked that the country may start imposing smart lockdowns starting Monday.

Many people, politicians, social activists, and journalists have prayed for the PM’s speedy recovery.

“Skipper, we are praying for you,” said National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar on Twitter. “You better give corona a tough fight!”

On Saturday, PML-N senator Irfan Siddiqui tested positive for the virus as well. He is self-isolating at his house.

PM receives first dose of coronavirus vaccine

The PM received his first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine in Islamabad on March 18. He got himself registered on the 1166 helpline and received the shot when his turn came.

The Ministry of National Health Services clarified that Imran Khan’s vaccination process hadn’t been completed. He had received the first dose two days ago which is “too soon for any vaccine to become effective”, it said in a tweet. Anti-bodies develop two to three weeks after the second dose of the COVID vaccine.

People who are being given the Sinopharm will receive two doses 21 to 28 days apart. One dose of the vaccine does not confer full immunity. You need both doses. 

A person develops:

  • partial immunity two weeks after the first dose
  • full immunity two weeks after the second dose

This is why those who are vaccinated still need to wear masks and heed all other coronavirus precautions.

Dr Bari told SAMAA TV Imran Khan was exposed to the virus before getting the jab, adding that the infection has nothing to do with the vaccine.

“Even when you get the vaccine, it takes five to seven days for anti-bodies to develop.”

Asad Umar clarified that people have the misconception that the coronavirus vaccine is not effective. “When you have the virus, it takes two to three days for the symptoms to show. We can guarantee that when the PM got vaccinated, he had already contracted the virus.”

Don’t get confused and make sure you get vaccinated, Umar urged, adding that the premier will be tested again after his quarantine period ends.

Shahbaz Gill also said that people shouldn’t link the virus with the vaccine. The vaccine becomes effective after some days. This news should in no way deter people from getting vaccinated against the deadly disease, he remarked.

Pakistan is currently facing the third wave of the coronavirus, and the country’s positivity rate has risen to 8%.

Related: Pakistan PM Imran Khan receives Covid-19 vaccine jab

Pakistan reported 3,876 new cases on Saturday taking the national tally to 623,135. Forty-two deaths were reported over 24 hours and the death toll of the virus is now 13,799. The highest number of cases were reported in Sindh followed by Punjab.

‘Don’t be reckless’

Earlier in the day, Dr Sultan said that people must follow the coronavirus SOPs as the number of infections is rising in the country.

“We placed some restrictions on educational institutions, wedding halls, and recreational parks,” he remarked while addressing a press conference. People must avoid crowded places and weddings must be held in open-air halls.

“We have observed that administrative action has been weak and people haven’t been complying,” the special assistant said. “We have to take collective responsibility and act together as a nation.”

People should not be reckless and must wear masks in public. “Please follow the administrative action.” It can prove to be quite dangerous and fatal.

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