The Indian version of the coronavirus has yet to be discovered in Pakistan, according to a senior minister in charge of the coronavirus task force, denying claims that the virus had traveled from India to Thailand.
Health officials in Thailand reported the country's first cases of the Indian form of the coronavirus on Monday, according to reports, in a Thai woman and her 4-year-old son who have been in state quarantine since arriving from Pakistan.
The discovery comes as Thailand battles a new coronavirus outbreak.
Minister of Planning Asad Umar, who also heads the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), a centralized body set up to coordinate the national Covid-19 response, said on Monday that two Thai nationals could not have contracted the Indian coronavirus variant from Pakistan because it is not yet present in the country.
Some variants, such as UK, Brazilian, and South African, have been identified in the region, but there has yet to be a single case of an Indian variant, he told the Dawn newspaper.
The Indian version, known officially as B.1.617, was first discovered in Maharashtra in October of last year. At least 21 countries have recently been infected with the virus.
According to Umar, the woman may have contracted the virus in Thailand or elsewhere because the virus had not been registered in Pakistan.
To avoid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Thailand has barred all visitors from India, except Thai residents, as of May 1.
Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanee Sangrat said the ban on foreigners visiting Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal was extended on Monday in an attempt to prevent the Indian variant from spreading.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's coronavirus death toll rose to 19,106 on Tuesday, with 113 people dying in the last 24 hours, according to health officials.
According to them, the total number of confirmed cases in the United States has risen to 864,557, with 3,684 new cases added.