In Kerala, so far, there are eight people who have returned from the UK and have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus. According to Shailaja, samples from these eight people have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune where they will be further examined to check if these people have the mutated strain of the virus.
It is to note that two new strains of SARS-CoV-2 found in the UK have so far been to have a high transmissibility rate. Last week, South and East England witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases, and the reason behind the surge was found to be the new variant of the viral infection. While one strain is believed to be found in Europe, the other one has come from South Africa (which was later found in the UK). The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control briefed on a threat assessment recently and said that when phylogenetic analysis was done, the new COVID-19 strain had 29 different nucleotide substitutions when compared to the viral strain that was transmitted in Wuhan originally. Right now, it is believed that the new strain has spread across countries and there is no clarity on the extent of the spread for the new COVID-19 variant.
Meanwhile, officials in India are trying to identify and locate people who have travelled from the UK. People coming from the UK have been found in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Maharashtra and Goa, among other states and some of them have tested positive for COVID-19 as well. According to Goa’s health minister Vishwajit Rane, 11 people who have come from the UK tested positive for the viral infection. Currently, people with travel history to the UK are being traced and tested for the Coronavirus. Viral strains collected from the blood of infected people are also being studied.
Since the risk of COVID-19 transmission has increased significantly with the introduction of the new viral strain, India has also suspended flights to the UK until December 31.