Pakistani PM, wife test positive for COVID-19

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FILE PHOTO: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview with Chinese media in Islamabad, Pakistan, October 31, 2018. /Xinhua
FILE PHOTO: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview with Chinese media in Islamabad, Pakistan, October 31, 2018. /Xinhua

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

Khan is self-isolating at home, tweeted Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan on Saturday. The prime minister will reportedly continue official business through video conferencing.

Addressing concerns surrounding Khan’s vaccination, the Ministry of National Health Service, Regulations and Coordination said on social media that the prime minister was not “fully vaccinated” when he contracted the virus.

“He only got the 1st dose and merely 2 days ago which is too soon for ANY vaccine to become effective,” the ministry tweeted, adding that anti-bodies developed only two to three weeks after the second dose of the vaccine.

“Some people [are] questioning the efficacy of vaccination since he was vaccinated Thursday evening. The symptoms take a few days before manifesting. Hence it is certain that PM had been infected PRIOR to vaccination,” Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar tweeted on Saturday night, urging people to get themselves vaccinated.

The same night, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar tweeted, “The vaccine develops more than 80 percent immunity two weeks after the second injection.”

There are no reports on the prime minister’s wife’s health condition so far, but according to a tweet by Special Assistant to Prime Minister Shahbaz Gill, Khan’s symptoms were not severe and he only had a “mild cough and fever.”

A prominent local media outlet quoted Dr. Javed Akram, a member of the federal government’s COVID-19 task force, as saying that it was not uncommon for people to become infected with the virus after being vaccinated.

“However, it has nothing to do with the vaccination. I believe that the premier was already infected with the virus, but symptoms could not develop as the incubation period is seven to 10 days,” Dawn reported, citing Dr. Akram, adding that Khan will have to wait for 12 days, or until his results are negative, and then another six weeks before he could take a second shot of the vaccine.

Dr. Akram also reportedly said that a comprehensive mechanism of contact tracing was already in place and all of Khan’s close contacts could be tested.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday night tweeted that he wished Khan a speedy recovery from COVID-19.

Pakistan is facing a serious third wave of the virus and the government is taking steps to ensure the standard operating procedures to control the spread of the virus.

As of Sunday, Pakistan has confirmed 623,135 COVID-19 cases, with a total number of 13,799 deaths and 579,760 cases of recovery.

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