Punjab health minister Yasmin Rashid tests positive for COVID-19

Lahore (NUT-DESK)

Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid on Tuesday tested positive for coronavirus, a spokesperson for the lawmaker confirmed, as Pakistan faces a rising number of Omicron cases.

The health minister is isolating at home, the spokesperson said, adding that she got herself tested after her son tested positive upon his arrival in the United States.

The spokesperson said Dr Rashid attended a meeting regarding dengue today, where the province’s chief secretary was also in attendance. “All the participants of the meeting have been asked to get themselves tested.”

The fifth wave of COVID-19, which is driven by the Omicron variant, is spreading rapidly, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had said Monday as Pakistan reported its highest number of daily infections in over two months.

While addressing the epidemic curve chart data, the national immunisation plan, and disease prevalence across the country in a morning session, the NCOC confirmed that the positivity rate in Karachi has risen from 2% to 6% in the last three days, with the highest number of positive instances.

As of January 3, Pakistan recorded 372 cases of the Omicron variant, as per the  the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination.

The country confirmed its first case of the highly-transmissible variant on December 13 from its most populous city, Karachi. Three weeks later, the variant, which was first reported by South Africa and Botswana, has spread to its major cities.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan confirmed that a total of 372 infections of the variant have been recorded, with most of the cases being reported in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.

Dr Sultan added that Omicron was “now in most large countries, and forms an ever increasing proportion amongst the cases detected.”