6 UK returnees’ samples carry mutant Covid-19 variant

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New Delhi: The samples of six UK returnees in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune have been found to be positive with the new variant genome, the central government said on Tuesday, adding that they have been kept in a single-room-isolation in designated healthcare facilities.

“A total of six samples of six UK returnee persons have been found to be positive with the new UK variant genome. Three in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune. All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated Healthcare facilities by the respective state governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine,” the health ministry said.

Pursuant to this, the government found that about 33,000 passengers had disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK from November 25 to December 23 midnight. All these passengers were tracked and subjected by the states and UTs to the RT-PCR tests. So far only 114 have been found positive. These positive samples were then sent to 10 labs.

Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on.

The British government had recently announced that the newly identified strain of the virus found in their population is up to 70 per cent more transmissible. This had prompted the Indian authorities to suspend flights to and from the UK till December 31.


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