The Delta COVID-19 variant is fast spreading across Pakistan, a senior official at the government-funded National Institute of Health (NIH) said on Saturday, confirming that half of the daily positive cases in the country were caused by the highly contagious strain.
The Delta variant, first identified in India last October and which is becoming dominant in many countries, is more easily transmitted than earlier versions of the coronavirus and is suspected to cause more severe disease, especially among younger people.
After a decline in coronavirus cases in recent weeks after a third wave of the pandemic, the daily positivity rate in Pakistan jumped to 3.8 percent on Saturday, from 1.79 percent on June 28.
The positivity ratio in Islamabad has also increased to 7.1 percent in the last 24 hours, according to the district commissioner’s office, and Pakistan reported more than 1,700 new infections for a third straight day.
“Half of our daily coronavirus positive cases are found to be of Delta variant which is obviously not a good sign,” Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan, a focal person at the NIH, told Arab News.
Khan said inbound travelers from different countries, including the UK and United States, had brought the Delta variant to Pakistan, but it was yet to be seen if it was deadlier than other strains.