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Epsilon Covid-19 variant takes hold in Pakistan amid vaccination calls

Scientific Task Force member reveals more Epsilon cases reported

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 21, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Oct 21, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

Federal Planning Minister and NCOC Chief Asad Umar has urged people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus to “ensure there is no 5th wave of covid” in the country. His call comes as more cases of Epsilon variant of Covid-19 were reported by a member of the Scientific Task Force on Covid-19.

In a series of tweets on Thursday morning, Asad Umar also provided an overview of the vaccination campaign in different districts across the country.

Umar said if a sufficient number of people did not get the Covid-19 jab, Pakistan would continue to face the danger of another wave.

“To ensure there is no 5th wave of covid we have to meet vaccination targets set. Otherwise despite sharp decline in cases we remain vulnerable, if large number of people remain unvaccinated. Remember that 2nd dose is vital for protection against covid. Get fully vaccinated,” he said.

He said the vaccination campaign had made “best progress” in Islamabad, Peshawar, Gilgit, Mirpur while it has shown “good progress” in Skardu, Charsadda, and Sargodha.

The NCOC chief said vaccination efforts needed “improvement” in Hyderabad, Nowshera, Faisalabad, Quetta, Karachi, Mingora, and Mardan. “District admininistraion and health teams in these cities need to improve performance,” he said.

Latest statistics on Covid-19

Positive cases of Covid-19 have declined in the country over the last few weeks with less than 1,000 daily cases reported since October 15.

The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Thursday morning released statistics for the last 24 hours. 

It said only 622 positive cases were reported with a positivity ratio of 1.40%. At least 16 people died and the total number of patients stood at 44,334, with of them 1690 were in critical care.

Epsilon variant

Meanwhile, more cases of Epsilon variant have been reported by Dr Javed Akram, who is a member of the Scientific Task Force on Covid-19. 

Speaking to Dawn newspaper, Akram said the variant had originated in California, which was why it was called the California strain or B.1.429, and then it travelled to the United Kingdom and other European countries.

“Now we have been receiving cases in Pakistan,” he said.

Epsilon variant was first reported in Pakistan in August this year. At least 25 cases were reported then. 

Dr Akram said around 40 patients had been confirmed in Pakistan. However, he cautioned that this was not an accurate figure.

Dr Akram, who is also the vice-chancellor of the University of Health Sciences in Lahore, said five variants and seven mutations of Epsilon had been reported which made it more infectious.

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Epsilon variant in Pakistan, Covid-19 5th wave, Covid vaccination in Pakistan, vaccination progress in Pakistan, coronavirus latest statistics,

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