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Opinion

India has 38 cases of UK strain Covid-19 ‘highly infectious’

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A total of 38 people have tested positive for the new British variant of SARS-CoV-2 in India so far, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.

These include the 29 cases that were announced as of Friday.

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.

Of the 38, the mutated UK strain was detected in eight samples at the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi, 11 at the Institute for Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi, one at the National Institute for Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), Kalyani (near Kolkata), five at the National Institute of Virology in Pune, three at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, and ten were sequenced at the National Institute Hospital of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. The NCBS, InSTEM in Bengaluru, CDFD in Hyderabad, ILS in Bhubaneswar and NCCS in Pune have so far not found any mutant viruses from the UK, the ministry said.

“A total of 38 samples have been found to be positive with the new UK genome variant,” the ministry said.

He said a comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for fellow travelers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing is ongoing on other specimens, he added.

“The situation is under careful surveillance and regular advice is being provided to states to improve surveillance, containment, testing, and sending samples to INSACOG laboratories,” the ministry stated.

Covid-19 positive samples are being tested in 10 INSACOG laboratories (NIBMG Kolkata, ILS Bhubaneswar, NIV Pune, NCCS Pune, CCMB Hyderabad, CDFD Hyderabad, InSTEM Bengaluru, NIMHANS Bengaluru, IGIB Delhi and NCDC Delhi) for genome sequencing .

Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore have already reported the presence of the new UK variant.

The Indian government took notice of the virus reports reported from the UK and put in place a proactive and preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant, he said.

This strategy includes the temporary suspension of all flights from the UK from midnight December 23 to January 7 and mandatory testing of all air passengers returning to the UK through the RT-PCR test. . Samples from all UK returnees who test positive in the RT-PCR test will be genome sequenced from a consortium of 10 government laboratories: INSACOG. In addition, all international passengers arriving in India between December 9 and 22, if they show symptoms and test positive for Covid-19, will undergo genome sequencing as part of the Center’s strategy to detect the mutated variant. of the United Kingdom in them.

Others will be followed by the respective state and district surveillance officers and will be evaluated according to ICMR guidelines (even if they are asymptomatic) between the fifth and tenth day, according to the Union Ministry of Health guidance document on genomic sequencing.

In addition, the epidemiological surveillance of passengers, who have arrived in India since November 23, will be carried out in the community through active monitoring. In addition, on December 22, the standard operating protocol for states and UTs to address the SARS-CoV-2 mutant variant was issued.

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