At least 24 passengers from the UK who arrived in India have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The United Kingdom is hit by new coronavirus strain, prompting many countries including India to shut the operations of flights.
As per the data available, while eight passenges who landed in Amritsar have tested positive for the virus, six and five have tested position for infection in Delhi and Ahmedabad, respectively. Two each have tested positive for Covid-19 in Kolkata and Bengaluru. One passenger also tested posted positive in Chennai.
In view of the new strain, the government on Tuesday issued a stringent set of SOPs mandating RT-PCR tests at airports for each traveller from Britain. The government has also issued a statement that there is no need to panic but people should be more vigilant.
“We are yet to spot such a virus in our country. We will be safe if we suppress the genomic sequence,” NITI Aayog member (Health) VK Paul said on Tuesday.
In another related development, the sample of a passenger who arrived in Chennai from London via Delhi will be analysed to see if it matched with the new strain of the pathogen detected in the United Kingdom. The passenger, who tested positive has been admitted to the state-run King's Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research in Chennai. His sample will be sent for genomic analysis to the National Institute of Virology, Pune for confirmation.
Earlier on Monday, India announced to temporarily suspend flights from the UK to the country after the emergence of a new and highly infectious strain of the coronavirus in Britain. The suspension of flights from the UK will come into effect from December 22 midnight and will continue till December 31.