Islamabad [Pakistan], July 25 (ANI): After several weeks of fluctuation in Covid cases, Pakistan registered a positivity rate of 3 per cent with 582 fresh cases reported during the last 24 hours, National Institute of Health, Islamabad (NIH) data reported.
As many as 19,389 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan and moreover, the virus claimed two more lives overnight, pushing the country's COVID-19 death toll to 30,469.
Meanwhile, 178 coronavirus patients are being treated in critical care units of different medical facilities across the country, Geo News reported.
Experts said that the two sub-variants of the Omicron variant, namely BA.4 and BA.5, are responsible for the spread of COVID-19. They said that these variants have escape mutations that are giving them an edge. According to the World Health Organisation's most recent report, it was behind 52 per cent of cases sequenced in late June, up from 37 per cent in one week. In the United States, it is estimated to be causing around 65 per cent of infections.
Experts also said that the sub-variants have also been infecting people who are already vaccinated or have already been infected with COVD-19, but no evidence is available to show if they are causing any severe disease among the vaccinated people, Geo News reported.
According to the website, BA.5, which is an omicron variant, is particularly good at evading the immune protection afforded either by vaccination or prior infection.
For this reason, "BA5 has a growth advantage over the other sublineages of Omicron that are circulating," Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead on COVID-19, said as quoted by Geo News.
For many people, this means that they are getting re-infected, often even a short time after having COVID-19. Van Kerkhove said the WHO is assessing reports of re-infections.
"We have ample evidence that people who've been infected with Omicron are getting infected with BA5. No question about it," said Gregory Poland, a virologist and vaccine researcher with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Amid fears of a new wave of coronavirus, experts advocated mask-wearing indoors in cities reporting cases that constitute over 5 per cent positivity.
They also stressed vigilant watch through good surveillance and testing, vaccination with emphasis on boosters and communication about rising risk, especially in urban settings. (ANI)