In what could be a cause of concern for the government, six persons who returned to India from the UK have tested positive for the new UK variant genome of coronavirus. The revelation came from the Union health ministry at a time when the daily surge in COVID-19 cases is on the decline.
The ministry said the mutated UK strain was detected in samples in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune. All these persons have been kept in single room isolation at designated health care facilities by respective state governments and their close contacts have also been put under quarantine, the ministry said.
“Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on. 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 said.
Notably, the new coronavirus strain detected in the UK is more infectious and there are doubts on whether the existing vaccines against the virus will work on the new strain or not.
Presence of the mutated UK strain in several countries
It is important to note that 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, the ministry said.
Notably, after the new mutated strain of the virus came to the fore, several countries have banned flight operations to and from the UK, whereas many countries have made COVID-19 test reports mandatory for passengers.
Lowest daily surge in coronavirus cases
Meanwhile, the health ministry on Tuesday informed that 16,432 fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India in the past 24 hours. The addition of the fresh cases has taken the COVID-19 case tally past 1.02 crore.
It is the lowest daily surge in COVID-19 cases reported in India in the past six months.
Also, 252 COVID-19 related deaths were reported by the ministry during this period. The addition of the fresh fatalities has taken India’s death toll due to the deadly virus to 1,48,153.
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