New Covid-19 strain in India: 6 UK returnees found positive for new Coronavirus variant genome

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Covid new strain variant UK in IndiaCovid new strain in India: All six infected persons have been kept in single room isolation. (Representative image by Reuters)Covid new strain in India: Six passengers, who returned from the United Kingdom, were found to be positive for the new strain of Coronavirus that was traced in that country earlier this month, according to a statement by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This has come after the Government of India had banned passenger flight from London and other parts of the UK. A lockdown has been enforced in the UK after it announced that the new strain of Covid-19 went “out of control”.

So far, samples of three UK returnees have been tested and found positive for new Covid strain in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two in Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad and one in National Institute of Virology, Pune. All six infected persons have been kept in single room isolation, the Union Health Ministry has revealed.

“All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated Health Care facilities by respective State Governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travelers, family contacts, and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on,” the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said in a statement.

The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the States for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing, and dispatch of samples to INSACOG labs, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has assured.

From November 25 to December 23, 2020 midnight, around 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers underwent RT-PCR tests. So far only 114 have been found positive. These positive samples have been sent to 10 INSACOG labs – NIBMG Kolkata, ILS Bhubaneswar, NIV Pune, CCS Pune, CCMB Hyderabad, CDFD Hyderabad, InSTEM Bengaluru, NIMHANS Bengaluru, IGIB Delhi, NCDC Delhi for genome sequencing, according to details provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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

During the Covid pandemic, airlines such as Air India, Vistara, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic have operated flights between London and Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Amritsar under an air-bubble agreement between the governments of the two countries.

Meanwhile, India has reported 16,432 new COVID-19 cases, 24,900 recoveries, and 252 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to details provided by the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday. The total Coronavirus cases in the country are 1,02,24,303, with active Covid cases standing at 2,68,581, total recoveries reached 98,07,569, and the Death toll of 1,48,153.

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