The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) confirmed on Monday that two cases of the highly contagious coronavirus variant that first emerged in the UK have been detected in Pakistan.
According to the details, NCOC said that the National Institute of Health (NIH) examined a number of samples taken from UK return travelers suspected to be carrying the new Covid-19 variant, out of which two matched with the variant, named B117.
The variant was first detected in Britain last month, the NCOC said, adding it has also been found in 31 other countries.
It said Pakistani citizens returning from the UK need to take a mandatory PCR test for the new strain of the deadly virus.
Three new variants of the coronavirus have been detected in recent weeks, spreading to at least 13 countries worldwide.
The detection of new variants has led to increased vigilance across the world as officials say a variant found in the United Kingdom could be up to 70 percent more transmissible.
Referred to by some experts as the B117 lineage, this has rapidly become the dominant strain in cases of COVID-19 in many parts of the UK.
Earlier South Africa reported another new strain that appears to have mutated further than the UK variant.
Known as 501.V2, this variant is dominant among new confirmed infections in South Africa. On December 24 2020, the head of Africa’s disease control body said another COVID-19 strain, known as the P681H, was identified in Nigeria.
It is of a separate lineage from the other mutations but does not seem to be spreading as fast as the other two new variants.
Below is a list of countries that have so far reported cases of the new strains of coronavirus.
- The Netherlands