Health officials in the Pakistani province of Sindh said on Friday (April 30) they have detected two coronavirus variants first identified in Brazil and South Africa.
It would be the first detection of those variants in Pakistan confirmed by officials.
The highly contagious variants were discovered at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, which has also reported the most deaths in any city, accounting for 3,903 of the country’s 17,811 deaths.
Some 820,823 cases have been detected in the country, with 5,112 in the last 24 hours, according to the National Command Operation Center (NCOC), which oversees the government’s pandemic response.
Pakistan has seen record deaths in recent days from the coronavirus, and stricter restrictions on movement and gathering in public are planned for the upcoming Eid holiday.
Officials are worried the country’s health care system, already under strain, could reach breaking point if more contagious variants of the virus begin to spread, as has happened in neighbouring India.
(Production: Shahabuddin Shahab, Waseem Sattar)