India reports 6 cases of new Covid-19 strain as UK returnees test positive

India reports 6 cases of new Covid-19 strain as UK returnees test positive

India has detected six cases of the mutant coronavirus that was first discovered in the UK. The Health Ministry Tuesday said the six patients — three in Bengaluru, two in Hyderabad and one in Pune — had recently returned from the UK.

The new strain is reportedly 70% more infectious than the one that caused the Covid-19 pandemic and was first reported in the United Kingdom.

“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-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on,” the health ministry said.

“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 Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) Labs,” the health ministry added.

The ministry further added that about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from UK from November 25 to December 23. “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,” the government said.

Last week, India announced the suspension of flights from and to UK until the end of the year. The Civil Aviation Ministry took the decision on the basis of a recommendation by the Health Ministry, which noted that the new UK strain of the novel coronavirus is “spreading and growing rapidly”.

Till now 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.

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