President Arif Alvi, Defence Minister Khattak test positive for Covid-19

Published March 29, 2021
President Dr Arif Alvi has so far received only the first dose of the vaccine. — DawnNewsTV
President Dr Arif Alvi has so far received only the first dose of the vaccine. — DawnNewsTV

President Dr Arif Alvi and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak have tested positive for the coronavirus, it emerged on Monday.

"I have tested positive for Covid-19. May Allah have mercy on all Covid affectees," the president said in a tweet.

He said he had only received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine so far, noting that "antibodies start developing after 2nd dose that was due in a week".

Read: Does one jab of Covid-19 vaccine protect against infection? Experts weigh in

"Please continue to be careful," Alvi added.

First Lady Samina Alvi later shared that the president has "mild symptoms but is in good spirits". She said that she tested negative for Covid-19 and was quarantining.

"We had our vaccine 1st dose done but it takes time to build immunity & I request everyone to please continue to get vaccinations done & practice SOPs," she tweeted.

Meanwhile, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail announced that Defence Minister Khattak had also been diagnosed with the virus. "Get well soon PK," wrote Ismail, who himself contracted and recovered from the virus last year.

The president and defence minister's positive diagnosis comes a little over a week after Prime Minister Imran Khan and first lady Bushra Bibi tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Sunday, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said Imran had made "steady clinical recovery" from Covid-19 and that he had been advised that he could resume work and build up his work routine over the next few days.

Following the prime minister's positive test result, the Ministry of National Health Services had clarified that the premier was not "fully vaccinated" when he contracted the virus.

"He only got the first dose merely two days ago which is too soon for ANY vaccine to become effective. Antibodies develop 2-3 weeks after the second dose of 2-dose Covid vaccines," it said.

Later, SAPM Sultan said it was important to understand how vaccines worked. "No vaccine works immediately after being administered. Antibodies can take at least two to three weeks to develop."

He said that for two-dose vaccines, such as the one from Sinopharm, antibodies could take two to three weeks to develop after the second dose.

Speaking to Dawn.com, Dr Javed Akram — a member of the federal government's Covid-19 task force — said that it was not uncommon for people to become infected with the virus after being vaccinated.

Read: Does one jab of Covid-19 vaccine protect against infection? Experts weigh in

Wishes pour in

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong wished President Alvi a "speedy and complete recovery".

Nothing could stop Pakistan and China's joint effort to fight against the pandemic till victory, he added.

While wishing the president a speedy recovery, British Ambassador Christian Turner encouraged people to follow SOPs and get themselves vaccinated against the virus.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote: "Wishing President [Arif Alvi] and Defence Minister [Pervez Khattak] quick recoveries and the best of health."

PTI Senator Faisal Javed prayed for the recovery of President Alvi, Khattak and "all those [who] tested positive".

Senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal too prayed for the president to get well soon.

PPP's Farhatullah Babar too prayed for both Alvi and Khattak's "speedy and complete" recovery.

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