ISLAMABAD: A member of India’s diplomatic staff tested positive for coronavirus at Wagah Border on Friday after the health authorities tested the delegation for COVID-19 at the border crossing.

The person who tested positive is wife of a member of the Indian diplomatic staff, sources said.

She will quarantine at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad after she was allowed to leave in light of the exemption granted to the diplomatic staff.

The corona patient was part of a 12-member strong Indian diplomatic staff that entered Pakistan from India via Wagah.

Amid a devastating wave of coronavirus in India, Pakistan has already tightened border restrictions with a ban on most types of travel. In addition, borders with Afghanistan and Iran are also sealed amid the third wave.

In India, total infections in the country stood at 26.3 million on Saturday, the second highest in the world after the United States, while the country’s total death toll was 295,525.

EXPLAINER: What we know about the Indian variant as coronavirus sweeps South Asia

In Delhi, cases of mucormycosis or black fungus increase are on the rise and hospitals are facing a shortage of amphotericin B, an antifungal drug used in treatment of the rare but sometimes fatal disease.

Mucormycosis is a rare fungal infection caused by a group of moulds called mucormycetes, with symptoms such as face numbness, nose obstruction, swelling in the eye or cheeks, and black dry crusts in the nose.

According to doctors in the capital, these cases are being seen in some patients who were administered steroids to treat symptoms, and particularly among those who are suffering from diabetes and cancer.

As India battles its deadly ‘Indian variant’, nations around the globe have sent oxygen cylinders and other medical gear to support India’s crisis as many hospitals around the nation are struggling with a shortage of life-saving equipment.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also declared the coronavirus variant identified in India last year as a variant of global concern, with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.

“We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO technical lead on COVID-19 told a briefing in Geneva on Monday. “There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility.”


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