12 suspected Omicron cases found in Baluchistan: health official

62 Omicron cases detected in Lahore
62 Omicron cases detected in Lahore

Twelve suspected cases of coronavirus’ Omicron variant were reported in Balochistan on Tuesday, according to a health official.

Head of Opera­tions Cell (Covid) Dr Naqibullah Niazi told Dawn.com the cases were from the town of Kalat, adding that the samples were sent to the National Institute of Heart Diseases (NIHD) in Rawalpindi, where the presence of the variant would be confirmed after testing.

Dr Niazi said the patients had been quarantined.

Balochistan reported 19 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. The province’s caseload has increased to 33,606, while the death toll is 363.

Pakistan reported its first suspected case of the Omicron variant on December 8. Following its gene-sequencing, Aga Khan University Hospital confirmed it as the new variant on Dec 13.

In a statement, the hospital had said the patient was at home and doing well. So far, no other patients at the hospital had been confirmed to have the Omicron variant, it had added.

On Dec 18, health department sources told Dawn that another case of the variant had emerged in a 35-year-old man in Karachi who had arrived from the United Kingdom on Dec 8.

“His genome sequencing report stating that the infection appeared to be of Omicron has been sent to the National Institute of Health for further confirmation,” an official had said on the condition of anonymity.


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