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Three UK returnees test positive for new virus strain in Pakistan

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KARACHI: The first case of a new coronavirus variant has been reported in Sindh, it emerged on Tuesday.

According to a Sindh Health Department statement, the health authorities took 12 COVID-19 samples of the UK returnees for Genotyping out of which six were positive and three showed the new variant of the COVID-19 virus in the first phase.

“The Genotyping showed 95% match of the new variant from the UK. These samples will go through another phase of genotyping,” Sindh Health Department spokesperson Meeran Yousuf said, adding that the cases were identified in Karachi.

The provincial health department has informed Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan of the development.

Meanwhile, the statement added, the contact tracing of these patients is in process and their contacts are being isolated also.

Pakistan announced its updated standard operating procedures (SOPs) for travel restrictions imposed on inbound travelers from the United Kingdom, after cases of a highly new infectious strain of the coronavirus rose across the European country.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced Tuesday that Pakistani passport holders who have been issued the Business, Visitor or Transit visas by British authorities can return to the country provided they show a negative PCR test.

The test, however, must have been taken 72 hours prior to the start of their travel to Pakistan, said the aviation authority.

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