The number of cases of a mutant strain of coronavirus, that first surfaced in the United Kingdom, reached seven in India on Tuesday with one more person who returned from Britain recently testing positive. The person has been has been isolated in a separate room ta the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research in Chennai while his co-passengers and other contacts have been tested and found negative for COVID-19, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said.
"The Centre has confirmed one person from the state has been affected by the UK strain," he told reporters.
The person was being treated in a separate room in a separate wing at the institute on the directions of Chief Minister K Palaniswami, he added.
The Union Health Ministry earlier in the day said six people who returned to India from the UK have tested positive for the new mutated strain of coronavirus.
According to the details, the new coronavirus strain cases were reported from Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore. Samples of 3 UK returnees were tested and found positive for the new UK strain in NIMHANS, Bengaluru. The other two cases were tested at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad; while the last case was tested at the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
Radhakrishnan said more than 2,200 people had arrived in Tamil Nadu from the UK after November 25 and all of them underwent RT-PCR tests. As of Tuesday, 17 returnees have tested positive for COVID-19.
As far as treatment and existing testing protocol, he said the Union Health Ministry has informed there was no requirement for any modification.
"All those people including senior doctors, nurses are in separate wing. We have set up 120 specialised beds...", he said.
Reiterating that there was no need for any panic because of the new strain, he said RT-PCR test was being done for all returnees from the UK.
Those found positive are being treated in separate rooms even though results of their genomic sequencing were awaited from the National Institute of Virology in Pune.
"Therefore, the chances of spread of the virus in Tamil Nadu is less", the official said.
(With PTI Inputs)