Covid-19: 18 UK returnees to Kerala test positive, samples sent to NIV Pune for studying variant

Updated on Dec 29, 2020 03:31 PM IST

In order to test and analyse the Covid-19 strain, the Kerala government has sent samples of eight people who have tested positive for the virus to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune for genomic analysis.

People wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus queue up in Kochi, Kerala state, India.(AP)
People wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus queue up in Kochi, Kerala state, India.(AP)
Thiruvananthapuram | Byhindustantimes | Edited by Arpan Rai

Eighteen people who have returned to Kerala from the UK have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), health minister KK Shailja confirmed on Tuesday and said the government has made arrangements for their quarantine at home.

In order to test and analyse the Covid-19 strain, the Kerala government has sent samples of eight people who have tested positive for the virus to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune for genomic analysis.

“As many as 18 UK returnees have so far tested positive for Covid-19. Arrangements had been made to quarantine at home those who had come back from the UK after the new variant of the virus surfaced,” Shailja told news agency PTI.

The minister warned the elderly and people with existing comorbidities should be vigilant and exercise all safety protocols as six people in India have tested positive for the new UK variant. The new variant of the virus detected in Britain has triggered widespread concern and travel restrictions across the world.

The variant of the coronavirus, which could be up to 70% more transmissible, is spreading rapidly in Britain, although it is not thought to be more deadly or to cause more serious illness, according to the prime minister Boris Johnson and his board of scientific advisors.

Kerala has already strengthened surveillance at the state’s four international airports. A total of 743,563 cases of Covid-19 has been recorded in Kerala this year so far and 2,990 fatalities have been recorded due to the viral contagion.

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