A 28-year-old man in Nagpur, who tested positive for COVID-19 on December 15, is suspected of carrying the new strain of COVID-19 found in the United Kingdom. As per Dr Avinash Gawande, Superintendent, Government Medical College Nagpur, the patient, who returned from the UK on November 29, was tested at the airport on arrival but was found COVID-19 negative at the time.
"After seven days he stated showing symptoms and complained about the loss of smell. He was again tested for COVID-19 at Nandanvan public health clinic (PHC) and his Rapid Antigen test came on December 15," Newa agency ANI quoted Dr Gawande as saying.
He added that his family members were also tested positive for COVID-19. "The family has a history of going to Gondia (in Maharashtra). On December 22, the man was admitted at the hospital. We collected two samples for testing. A sample has been sent for RT-PCR test and another to Pune for further examination," the doctor added.
However, the Municipal Commissioner of Nagpur said that it cannot be confirmed whether the patient is carrying the new strain or not till the final test reports come.
"28-year-old male COVID positive patient, with travel history to the UK, has been admitted to a separate ward at Government Medical College Nagpur. His swab has now been sent to Pune for further investigation. After receiving the report from Pune, it can be said whether this patient is a new strain or an old strain," said Radhakrishnan B, Municipal Commissioner, Nagpur.
Meanwhile, India has temporarily suspended all flight operations between India and the UK till December 31, 2020.
On December 20, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had informed the public that a new variant of the COVID-19 virus has been found in the UK.
"Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned," he had tweeted.
Meanwhile, UK's Health Secretary revealed that a second "more contagious" variant of coronavirus linked to South Africa has been detected in the nation. Matt Hancock told journalists that the two cases of the new variant were "contacts of cases who have travelled" from the nation "over the past few weeks."
(With ANI inputs)