Seven people in Karnataka have been found to be infected with the new 'AY 4.2' Covid-19 variant, triggering fear of a possible third wave of the pandemic in the state. The new variant is causing havoc in the UK, Russia and China. As the Covid restrictions have been eased in the state following a sharp reduction in fresh cases, authorities are now preparing an action plan to prevent the spread of the new variant.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said he has already discussed the new Covid strain with the state Health Minister.
"I have been instructed to initiate strict measures to contain the virus," he added.
Karnataka Education Minister, BC Nagesh has said there is no difference between the new variant of Covid-19 and the older one and that there is no need to panic. The state resumed physical classes for primary school children on Monday.
The swab samples which were collected in July by authorities have tested positive for AY 4.2 strain through genomic sequencing.
Among the seven cases, three are from Bengaluru and four others belong to different districts of the state.
Without taking any chances, the authorities have already started tracking down the infected persons. A team will visit their houses to conduct Covid tests on them and their primary and secondary contacts.
The new strain is said to be highly transmissible, but fatal.
Experts opined that the climate and immunity of the people in Russia, the UK and China as compared to Indians are different. But India with 130 crore population can't allow the infection to spread as it may create disastrous effects and will lead to further mutations of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, seven districts in the state have vaccinated 50 per cent of the target population with a second Covid dose.
As many as 68 per cent of people have been administered with a second dose in Bengaluru Urban, followed by Ramanagar (54 per cent), Kolar (51 per cent) and Udupi, Kodagu and Chikkaballapur (50 per cent).
The experts have said vaccination is the most effective deterrent against the new variants and people who have received only one dose remain vulnerable to the virus.
Maintaining social distancing and wearing masks along with vaccination is the need of the hour. If people neglect this, they will be in danger, they added.
The Karnataka government has relaxed most of the stringent rules of Covid restrictions and life is back to normalcy in the state.
Huge crowds can be seen in malls, theatres and other public places.
(With inputs from IANS)