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Genome Sequencing for All Covid-19 Positive Flyers Arriving in India December 9-22 | India News


NEW DELHI: All international passengers who arrived in India on December 9-22 and tested positive for Covid-19 will undergo genome sequencing as part of the Center’s strategy to detect the mutated coronavirus strain that has emerged in the UK recently.
Others will be followed up by state and district surveillance officers, and will be evaluated according to ICMR guidelines, even if they are asymptomatic, between the fifth and tenth day of arrival, according to the Union Ministry of Health guidance document on sequencing genomics.
“All international passengers who have arrived in India during the last 14 days (December 9-22), if they show symptoms and test positive, will undergo genome sequencing,” the document states.
Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore have already reported the presence of the new British variant of the coronavirus so far.
The Ministry of Health has established the India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) for epidemiological and laboratory surveillance and to expand the full genome sequencing of coronavirus in the country, helping to understand how it spreads and the virus evolves.
India has put in place a proactive and preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant of the virus. It includes the temporary suspension of all flights from the UK from midnight December 23 to December 31 and mandatory testing of all air passengers returning from the UK via the RT-PCR test.
The Center has identified ten regional laboratories to which states will send five percent of their Covid-19-positive samples to sequence the genome to detect the new variant of the coronavirus.
The Ministry of Health has already issued the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Epidemiological Surveillance and Response in the context of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2.
The purpose of this initiative is to ensure proper screening of international travelers arriving in India for the early detection of new cases of SAR-CoV-2 variants. In addition, epidemiological surveillance of passengers, who have arrived in India since November 23, will be carried out in the community through active monitoring.
At least six people who returned to India from the UK have tested positive for the new mutated strain of coronavirus, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
He said that the SARS-CoV-2 genome variant in the UK was detected in three samples at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience Hospital (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru, two at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB at Hyderabad and one at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune.
All of these people have been kept in single room isolation in health care facilities designated by the respective state governments and their close contacts have also been quarantined, the ministry said.

Times of India