New Covid-19 strain yet to be detected in India, says Niti Aayog member VK Paul
Dr VK Paul, member of government think-tank Niti Aayog, said on Tuesday that the new strain of the coronavirus that has been spreading rapidly in the UK, has not been detected in India yet. Speaking at a press briefing of the health ministry, Dr Paul also said that there are no causes for concern and asked the people not to panic and remain vigilant about the virus. “There is no cause for concern, no need to panic, as for now. We need to stay vigilant,” he said.
While the new strain of the infection has increased transmissibility of the virus, the severity of the disease and the case fatality are not affected by this mutation, Dr Paul said.
“The new strain of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom has increased transmissibility. This mutation is not affecting the severity of the disease. Case fatality is not affected by this mutation,” he added.
When asked about the impact of this new mutation on the vaccines that are being developed in India, he said that the new mutation currently doesn’t impact the potential of emerging vaccines in India and elsewhere. “As of now, it has no impact on the potential of the emerging vaccines being developed in our country and are available in other countries,” he assured.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan noted that India’s recovery rate has now reached 95 per cent and the active Covid-19 caseload is less than three lakh. “It is after almost 5.5 months, we have less than 3 lakh active Covid-19 cases in the country. Currently, the active cases are less than 3% of overall cases,” he added. Bhushan also said that the average daily new cases for the past seven weeks have declined.
India on Monday suspended air travel from England after cases in the UK increased because of a new mutation of the coronavirus. When asked about the passengers already arriving in India, Bhushan said that the RT-PCR Covid-19 tests are mandatory for passengers from the UK at airports.
He also said that genome sequencing is being done in designated labs of the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to observe the presence of the new mutation.