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  4. Five more UK returnees test positive for new strain of coronavirus, tally mounts to 25

Five more UK returnees test positive for new strain of coronavirus, tally mounts to 25

A total of 25 cases of mutant United Kingdom virus have been detected in India after genome sequencing, Union Ministry of Health informed on Thuesday. Out of the five fresh cases, four have been traced by National Institute of Virology in Pune and CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: December 31, 2020 12:56 IST
5 more UK returnees test positive for new strain of coronavirus, total 25
Image Source : INDIA TV

5 more UK returnees test positive for new strain of coronavirus, total 25

A total of 25 cases of mutant United Kingdom virus have been detected in India after genome sequencing, Union Ministry of Health informed on Thuesday. Out of the five fresh cases, four have been traced by National Institute of Virology in Pune and CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi. The infected individuals have been kept in physical isolation at state health facilities.

“A total of 25 cases of mutant United Kingdom virus detected in India after genome sequencing. Four new cases found by NIV, Pune and one new case sequenced in IGIB, Delhi. All 25 persons are in physical isolation at health facilities,” the health ministry official said, reported news agency ANI.

Speaking on the development, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said, "four patients have been found to be positive for the new strain of Coronavirus in Delhi. Flights have been banned and more passengers are not arriving. We are tracing and monitoring people who have already arrived." 

READ MORE: PM Modi says all prepared for indigenous vaccine rollout, cautions public against rumours

The highly infectious mutant strain, which first surfaced in the United Kingdom in September, was found to have reached India with travellers returning from the European nation. The ministry said that 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  states and UTs to RT-PCR tests.

The presence of the new UK variant has already been reported by Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore, so far.

The new starin is said to be 70 per cent more contagious than the existing one. Though experts have claimed that a vaccine will work against the mutant variant of the infection, the Centre has extended the ban on all flights from the UK till January 7.

Meanwhile, several states and union territories (UTs), including Delhi and Maharashtra, have reimposed restrictions ahead of New Year's celebrations, asking people to stay inside and follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

READ MORE: India will have Covid-19 vaccine within days, says AIIMS Director

The Government of India took cognizance of the reports of virus reported from the UK and put in place a proactive and preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant, it said.

This strategy includes temporary suspension of all flights coming from the UK with effect from the midnight of December 23 till January 7 and mandatory testing of all UK-returned air passengers through RT-PCR test.

The samples of all UK returnees found positive in RT-PCR test will be genome sequenced by a consortium of 10 government labs i.e. INSACOG.

Also, a meeting of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 was held on December 26 to consider and recommend testing, treatment, surveillance and containment strategy. Besides, standard operating protocol for states and UTs to tackle the mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 was issued on December 22.

READ MORE: UK Covid strain 70% more infectious, could have entered India before December: Randeep Guleria

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