Islamabad [Pakistan], December 29 (ANI): Pakistan on Tuesday reported its first confirmed cases of the new coronavirus variant found in the UK after it identified the strain in three samples taken from passengers who had returned from Britain.
Citing the Sindh health department, Dawn reported that 12 samples of UK returnees were taken for genotyping out of which six were positive and three showed the new variant of the coronavirus in the first phase.
"The genotyping showed 95 per cent match of the new variant from the UK. These samples will go through another phase of genotyping," Meeran Yousuf, spokesperson for the Sindh health department said.
"Meanwhile, the contact tracing of these patients is in process and their contacts are also being isolated," she said.
The development came as Pakistan extended a ban on the UK flights till January 4.
The new strain, referred to by some experts as the B.1.17 lineage, is not the first variant of COVID-19 pandemic, but it is said to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the previously dominant strain in the UK, Geo News reported.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has reached 475,085, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from various sources including local authorities and media outlets. (ANI)