The first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was reported in Lahore, Punjab on Monday, signalling the spread of the new variant across Pakistan.
The virus was detected in a 23-year old male resident of the Gulberg neighbourhood of Lahore. He had no history of travelling abroad but had recently travelled to Sindh.
A total of 10 samples from Punjab were sent to the National Institute of Health, Islamabad to test for the Omicron variant, although only one case was positively detected.
As of Saturday, reports confirmed that the Omicron variant had also reached the capital city, Islamabad. The patient there had recently travelled to Karachi.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza has warned that the next three weeks could bring about a surge of Omricron cases, citing its faster spread.
“I do want to ring one fear bell. Since Omicron could lead to faster spread of the [virus], I assume that in the next two or three weeks Pakistan may witness a surge in the number of [Covid-19] cases.”
On Monday, booster shots were made available free of cost to people above the age of 30, healthcare workers, and immunocompromised people. Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Pfizer will be administered as boosters.
Pakistan’s first case of the Omicron variant was detected in Karachi on December 8. The virus was detected in a 57-year-old unvaccinated woman.