Pakistan’s prime minister, cricket legend Imran Khan, has tested positive for COVID-19 — two days after getting his first dose of the vaccine, officials announced.
The 68-year-old leader was “in good health” with a mild cough and fever and was self-isolating at home, his special assistant on health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, said in announcing the infection on Saturday.
The premier’s wife and two senior members of his Tehreek-e-Insaf (Justice) Party also tested positive, Sultan announced Sunday.
Khan — who regularly attended gatherings without wearing a mask — had just had his first vaccine shot on Thursday.
Key members of his administration urged citizens to continue getting vaccinated amid fears that news of the leader’s sickness would only heighten widespread hesitation in Pakistan over the shots.
“The symptoms take a few days before manifesting. Hence it is certain that PM had been infected PRIOR to vaccination,” Asad Umar, the minister in charge of the country’s COVID-19 operations, said in a tweet.
“So please do vaccinate,” he wrote.
While it was not announced which vaccine Khan was given, the shot produced by China National Pharmaceutical Group — Sinopharm — is the only one officially available in Pakistan.
Media reports say a private Pakistani pharmaceutical company has imported 50,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, according to The Associated Press.
Pakistan has seen a concerning spike in COVID-19 cases in the capital and in eastern and northern areas. Authorities on Sunday reported 44 new deaths and 3,667 new confirmed infections.
Overall, the virus has killed close to 14,000 people in Pakistan and infected more than 626,000.
With Post Wires