ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday tested positive for the COVID-19 and is self-isolating at home, his top aide on health said, two days after he got the first shot of vaccination.
Khan, 67, was vaccinated on Thursday as part of the nationwide anti-coronavirus vaccination campaign which is underway in its first phase.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan took to Twitter to confirm that Khan has contracted the coronavirus.
“PM Imran Khan has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self isolating at home,” he said in a tweet.
Khan’s spokesman Dr Shehbaz Gill said that the prime minister has just a slight fever and cough.
Issuing a clarification on Khan’s vaccination, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination said that antibodies develop two to three weeks after the 2nd dose of the 2-dose COVID-19 vaccines.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan 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. Anti-bodies develop 2-3 weeks after the 2nd dose of COVID vaccines,” it said on Twitter.
On Sunday, he was scheduled to interact with the public via telephone calls.
However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senator Dr Faisal Javed said that a new time and date will be announced soon.
“Due to PM Imran testing positive for Covid-19, a new date for live interaction with the public will be announced soon. Lots of prayers for everyone and PM Imran,” he said in a tweet.
Javed added that Khan was experiencing “mild symptoms” and will continue to work from home over video conferencing.
Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar said that the vaccine develops more than 80 percent immunity two weeks after the second injection.
“Furthermore, no cabinet minister, including the prime minister, nor any of their relatives jumped the queue or violated the priority order to receive the vaccine,” he said.
Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar said that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and positivity rate is alarming and ‘we all need to be extra careful and strictly follow safety protocols!!’ Supporters and ministers of Khan, a former captain of the Pakistani cricket team, started sending messages of goodwill soon after the news of his diagnosis was shared with #ImranKhan becoming the top trend on Twitter.
Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry said that the people of Pakistan are praying for their leader.
“May God return him to good health soon.” Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi said that the premier will recover soon and be back to work “in a flash”.
Khan had been active until Friday when he visited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and inaugurated a highway and an academic block of a university.
He urged the citizens to ensure the full implementation of norms to prevent the surge in cases of coronavirus.
Pakistan officials last week said that the country was hit by the third wave of the pandemic.
According to the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker, Pakistan has so far reported 623,135 cases and 13,799 deaths. (Agency)