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Pakistani PM Khan, Wife Test Positive For COVID-19

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (file photo)

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has tested positive for COVID-19, the country's health minister said on March 20, two days after he received a vaccination, although the Health Ministry and other officials noted he had not been fully vaccinated.

Khan is "self-isolating at home," Faisal Sultan, a special health adviser to the prime minister, said in a tweet.

Sultan said on March 21 that Khan's wife had also tested positive for the virus along with two senior members of Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (Justice) Party.

Khan was administered the vaccine on March 18. Sinopharm is the only coronavirus vaccine so far being used in Pakistan. Half a million doses were donated by China in February.

In a post on Twitter, the Pakistani Health Ministry said Khan had only been given one of the two required doses, and that it was too soon after the inoculation for it to provide full protection.

Asad Umar, Pakistan's minister of planning who is in charge of the country's response to COVID-19, also said on Twitter that Khan had likely been infected prior to his first dose of the vaccine.

The South Asian nation of 220 million is seeing a sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

According to data tabulated by Johns Hopkins University, Pakistan has more than 626,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and more than 13,800 people have died of COVID-19 .

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Officials in Pakistan have blamed the surge in infections mainly on overcrowding and a reluctance to wear masks. Pakistan says the coronavirus variant first found in Britain may also be a factor.

Most of the new cases come from Pakistan’s largest and richest province, Punjab.

On March 18, Pakistani minister Asad Umar said hospital beds were filling fast and warned of stricter curbs if rules were not followed.

With reporting by Reuters
NOTE: This article has been amended to correct the number of coronavirus cases and COVID-19 fatalities in Pakistan.
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