The Central government on Friday said that a total of 82 persons have been detected with the new 'more transmissible' UK coronavirus mutant strain. They have been kept in physical isolation in health facilities.
Earlier on the day, a flight from the US landed in Delhi with 246 passengers on board amid concerns about the mutant strain that emerged in Britain. The flights from the UK resumed on Friday after the government suspended services between on December 23.
According to the Health Ministry, all 82 persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated healthcare facilities by respective state governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine.
"Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts, and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on," the ministry said.
On December 29, a total of six UK returnees were found to be positive with the new variant genome. These were the first cases to be reported by the country that has the second-highest number of cases after the US.
The tracing and testing was initiated after the British Government announced that a newly identified strain of the virus was found in their population which is up to 70 percent more transmissible.
Notably, the new UK variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon, and Singapore.
From November 25 to December 23 midnight, about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected by the states and UTs to RT-PCR tests.
The Union health ministry further stated that the situation was under careful watch and regular advice was being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing, and dispatch of samples to labs.