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Surveillance system in place at all entry points of Pakistan to prevent Covid spread: officials

ISLAMABAD, DEC 28: Health authorities on Wednesday said that a surveillance system was in place at all entry points of the country to monitor incoming passengers in the wake of the threat posed by the new BF.7 Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Earlier this week, CBS News reported China is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases due to a strain that is a sub-variant of the highly infectious Omicron variant: BF.7 or BA.

According to an official of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination, several additional measures had been taken to prevent the spread of the subvariant.

He said that instructions had been issued to the concerned authorities to ensure that people, coming from other countries, go through thermal scanners at airports across Pakistan.

The official stated that an “efficient system with a proper management team is fully functional” in the country to remain vigilant and was ready to make an emergency plan to deal with any sub-variant of Covid-19.

In case of any untoward situation, he pointed out, the health system was “fully prepared to deal with any sub-variant” of the Omicron variant, including BF.7, in the country.

The official added that medical staff at intensive care units (ICU) of hospitals across the country were also active to handle any situation.

He further said that genome sequencing was initiated in laboratories of all four provinces and the federal capital.

“Ninety per cent of the country’s population has already received the Covid-19 vaccine so they are safe,” he added.

The official said that special directions were issued to ensure the availability of an adequate quantity of ventilators, oxygen supplies, and antiviral medicines in the hospitals.

Meanwhile, as per data shared by the National Institute of Health (NIH), 26 new cases were reported during the last 24 hours across the country.

The case positivity ratio was 0.75pc, while 14 patients were in critical condition. No death was reported from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours while 3,488 tests were conducted.

Around 404 tests were conducted in Islamabad, 756 in Lahore, and 363 in Peshawar. As many as four confirmed cases with a 1.1pc case positivity ratio were reported from Peshawar, one case with a 0.25pc case positivity ratio was reported from Islamabad and one case with a 0.13pc case positivity was reported from Lahore.

Earlier, Minister for National Health Services Abdul Qadir Patel appreciated the efforts of all stakeholders, healthcare staff, vaccination teams and administration working across Pakistan despite multiple challenges.

He advised all provinces and regions to administer booster doses to further improve protection against Covid-19 transmission. Patel said that in view of the global pandemic situation, the Central Health Establishment (CHE) will be strengthened to enhance its functionality.

The minister emphasised the importance of precautions, including social distancing and mask-wearing, especially in crowded places. He also highlighted the need to strictly follow the guidelines for the management of markets.

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