NEW DELHI: The presence of the mutant variant of Covid-19 virus from the UK has been established in six travelers who have returned from there over the last few weeks, the Centre confirmed on Tuesday.
The samples which tested positive for the new strain of SARS CoV 2, found to be more infectious, included 3 in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV, Pune.
“All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by respective state governments,” said the Union ministry of health and family welfare in a statement.
It added that their close contacts have also been put under quarantine and comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others.
Genome sequencing so far
Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on as well. So far about 55 travelers who have arrived in India from the UK since November 25 have tested positive for Covid-19 and all their samples have been subjected to extensive genome sequencing.
The surfacing of the new virus strain may be a major cause of worry in the country and its spread could trigger concerns about overburdening of healthcare systems once again in the coming months.
On its part, the Centre taking cognizance of the reports of mutant variant of SARS- CoV-2 virus reported from UK has put a preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant.
This strategy includes temporary suspension of all flights coming from UK from December 23 to December 31, mandatory testing of all UK returnee air passengers through RT-PCR test.
In addition, a comprehensive genome surveillance exercise has also been started to detect the mutation in pathogen and a detailed standard operating protocol has been shared with states to tackle the mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2.
The Covid-19 National Task Force also discussed the issue last week which concluded that while there is no need to change either the existing treatment protocol in view of the mutant variant, it is critical to conduct enhanced genomic surveillance.
So far, the presence of the new UK Variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.
Meanwhile, the daily new coronavirus infections in India dipped below 20,000 for the third time this month taking the COVID-19 caseload to 1,02,24,303, while the recoveries crossed 98 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.
A total of 16,432 new infections were reported in a span of 24 hours, the lowest in little over six months, while the death toll increased to 1,48,153 with 252 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.
Source: The New Indian Express