KARACHI: On Monday, the Sindh government said that the prevalence of the Omicron variant has reached up to 50% in the province, especially in Karachi. According to provincial health authorities, 351 samples of COVID-19 positive cases were tested from which 175 people were found to be infected with the Omicron variant. Moreover, at a high-level meeting to discuss the virus spread in the province, the Sindh Health department informed Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah about the worsening situation of the coronavirus pandemic driven by the new variant. It was also pointed out that out of 175 people, few had travel history predominantly from the UK, Dubai, USA, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Nairobi and Angola. Chaired by the chief minister, the meeting was attended by Minister Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Adviser Law Murtaza Wahab, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Soomro, acting Chief Secretary Qazi Shahid Pervez, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Health Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Dr Bari of Indus Hospital and other concerned officials. During the meeting, it was highlighted that the number of coronavirus cases has started increasing during the last 30 days — Dec 3, 2021, to Jan 2, 2022. On December 3, 2021, 261 new cases were reported, which kept on showing an upward trend and finally on January 2, 2022, reached 403. The chief minister said that the situation was critical and urged the health department to start an extensive vaccination drive and increase tests of people all over Sindh. He urged the people of the province to adopt preventive measures; otherwise, his government would have to take strict measures. The meeting was told that during the last 30 days — Dec 4, 2021, to Jan 1, 2022 — 51 patients died, of them, 40 or 78% were on ventilators, six or 12% off ventilators, five or 10% at home. The CM was told that so far 29,579,471 vaccine doses had been administered all over Sindh.