Fourteen more people in India have been detected with the new coronavirus strain. On Tuesday, the government said that six people who returned from the UK have been detected with coronavirus. So far, India has 20 cases of the new coronavirus strain. Meanwhile, the government has increased scrutiny of passengers from the UK. The mutant coronavirus strain that was first detected in the UK is believed to be 70 per cent more infectious.
"From 25th November to 23rd December 2020 midnight, about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected by States/UTs to RT-PCR tests. 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. A total of 6 samples of 6 UK returnee persons have been found to be positive with the new U.K variant genome. 3 in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV, Pune," the government had stated on Tuesday.
The government had stated that close contacts of the people infected have 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 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," stated the health ministry.
The new coronavirus strain has so far been detected in the US, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.
The Indian government has suspended all flights coming from the UK till December 31. As per Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, this date might be extended further. Moreover, all UK returnees are being mandatorily tested through RT-PCR. The National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 also convened on December 26 to consider and recommend testing, treatment, surveillance and containment strategies.