COVID-19: UK variant infecting more children, teens in Pakistan 5,792 youngsters have tested positiv

Islamabad: Health officials have warned that the UK variant of COVID-19 spreading through Pakistan is more dangerous for young people and children.

5,792 children have tested positive for COVID-19 in Islamabad city since the pandemic began, according to the official data. Around 5,391 youngsters aged 11 to 20 years were also among those infected in Islamabad – the city of 2.3 million that reported a total of 57,833 coronavirus cases to date.

The new UK variant of the coronavirus spreading rapidly in Pakistan is increasingly infecting children. During the last two months, the country has witnessed a sudden spike in number of infections in children and youth which was not so observed during the first two waves of the virus.

Virus carriers

“The infection rate is increasing in children” confirmed Islamabad district health officer Dr Zaeem Zia. Although young ones are less susceptible, according to different researches, but once infected they can become virus carriers and transmit it to adults more rapidly, he said.

Researchers of the Khyber Medical University (KMU) recently recommended that the government ramp up testing and vaccination and include minors and teenagers in the COVID strategy, underlining that children can be the potential transmitters of the coronavirus to the elderly population.

The province of Punjab also reported a surge of infections in children. At least 19,367 COVID cases were reported in children under 18 years of age in Punjab since the outbreak of the virus. At least 44 per cent of the cases were reported in the first three months of 2021.

Third wave

Lahore city of Punjab reported the highest number of infections in children with 8,390 cases, according to official data. Most children showed mild or no symptoms, but some had to be shifted to hospitals.

Pakistan, which is currently battling the infectious third wave of coronavirus, has placed partial restrictions in COVID hotspots to prevent the spread of disease. Pakistan recorded 4,974 new coronavirus cases and at least 98 deaths in the last 24