Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday ordered the immediate restoration of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) in light of Pakistan detecting its first case of a sub-variant of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The new sub-variant, BA.2.12, has already been spreading in the rest of the globe, having been reported in 13 countries, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control saying it comprised 29 percent of all new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. last month. While scientists say they don’t have full details on its impact, they have noted that its mutations suggest it spreads even faster than the Omicron variant that was responsible for the previous wave of the pandemic.
On Monday, the National Institute of Health reported that it had detected the first case of the Omicron sub-variant in a traveler who had entered Pakistan from an undisclosed country. Taking notice of this development, the prime minister directed the restoration of the NCOC and also sought a report from the NIH over the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the country, read a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The NCOC was formed in March 2020 by the PTI-led government to oversee the national response to the coronavirus pandemic. The forum, consisting of civil and military members, shaped the national strategy to contain outbreaks and pursued a data-driven approach that focused on positivity ratios as a primary measure to introduce and withdraw preventative measures. The former government dissolved it in March on the basis of a noticeable decline in COVID cases nationwide.
Pakistan on Tuesday reported 31 new cases of the coronavirus, with zero deaths and 29 recoveries. The country currently has 103 critical and 3,238 active cases of the virus.