Four UK returnees test positive for Covid-19, samples sent for genome sequencing

Published on Dec 30, 2020 09:36 PM IST
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HT Image
BySteffy Thevar

PUNE Four out of the 560 people who returned to the city from the United Kingdom have tested positive for Covid-19 the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) said on Wednesday.

The civic body has now sent their samples for genome sequencing to detect UK-like variants which are found to transmit 56% faster than the current strain.

Dr Vaishali Jadhav, assistant health officer, PMC, “We got a list of over 667 people who had come to Pune from the United Kingdom before the flights could be banned. Out of these, we could trace about 613 which means that their samples have been sent for RT-PCR testing for Covid-19. We have got the reports of 560 of these out of which four have tested positive.”

“We have now sent their samples for genome sequencing to the National Institute of Virology to detect if they have been infected with the existing strain of or the new (UK) strain of the virus,” she said.

As per the PMC circular, these four patients have now been admitted at Naidu hospital for treatment and quarantine.

The administration is having a tough time to trace the returnees who are unwilling to come forward to get themselves tested. It has now also sought help from the local police to trace those who have not been able to be traced or have not reported to the local administration yet after returning from the United Kingdom.

To ease the contact tracing process of those who have returned from the United Kingdom in the month of December, the PMC has now issued a letter to the citizens to come forward and report themselves to the local administration.

In its letter, the civic body stated that currently 109 such returnees have not been traced as they have given a wrong address or a wrong mobile number. The letter stated, “Since it has been over ten days since these returnees came from the UK, the mandatory isolation period is over and so they are requested to submit their negative RT-PCR reports so that the contract tracing process could be registered.”

An officer in charge of contact tracing on condition of anonymity said, “It is difficult to trace the UK returnees because they have to be convinced of testing and isolation. They ask too many questions and to explain to each person the rules which have already been made public by the government is a huge task.”

“We have to further contact those who came in contact with these people if they turn positive,” he said.

Those who came before the December 22 notification, from the UK or the Middle East have been advised home isolation if they test negative while those who came after that will be directed to the nearby hotel for mandatory isolation for 14 days and will be released only after two consecutive negative reports.

If any foreign traveller is symptomatic then that passengers would be directed to PMC’s Naidu hospital for quarantine.

Contact details

Those who have returned to the country before December 22 have to submit a negative report to the administration or could contact the PMC at 020-25506800/01/02/03

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