Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered the restoration of the central pandemic response body of the country, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday, following the detection of the omicron sub-variant in incoming travelers a day before.
The NCOC was shut down earlier this year keeping in view the drop of corona cases to zero in the country. It was set up in March 2020 soon after Pakistan reported its first covid-19 case.
On Monday, the NIH detected the first case of omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1 identified among samples of travelers collected at airports.
“We have reported this case to the media and public after this sub-variant was detected in some samples recently collected at our airports,” NIH focal person Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan told an international media group on Monday. “We aren’t recommending any new coronavirus-related restrictions at the moment, but have enhanced our monitoring and screening of all incoming travelers at airports.”
The PM immediately took notice of the situation, ordering the restoration of the NCOC along with a report from the Ministry of National Health on the virus condition in the country at the moment.
“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken notice of the rising number of cases caused by a sub-variant of omicron virus,” said a brief statement released by the PM Office. “He has asked to immediately restore NCOC.”
The NIH has advised people to take the best preventive measure to avoid getting in contact with the virus, which is vaccination against it.
The omicron sub-variant, BA.2.12.1 is said to be causing COVID-19 infections across the world. Although this variant is not more dangerous as compared to the previous strains, it is believed to be highly contagious.
It is a spinoff of the omicron virus which was first reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa in November 2021 before spreading across the world within a few months.