Govt says Delta Plus a variant of concern, identifies 3 characteristics
The Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus has been declared by India as the one of concern, as more than two dozen cases have been detected in three states. This is the mutated version of the Delta variant, first found in India.
The Union health ministry advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh on the presence of the Delta Plus variant, which has been pegged as 'variant of concern' in certain districts of these states.
Union health secretary communicated to these three states that this variant has been found in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra, Palakkad and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala, and Bhopal and Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh.
Here are the latest on the Delta Plus variant:
- The health ministry identified three characteristics of the Delta Plus variant - increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.
- The chief secretaries of the three states have been advised to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters, including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis.
- The health ministry also said that India is among the nine countries where the Delta Plus variant has been detected. It said that the variant has been detected in the US, UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, China and Russia.
- The clusters of the variant has been identified by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium or INSACOG. The government has advised the states that their samples are sent to designated laboratories of INSACOG so that it can provide guidance based on the clinical epidemiological correlations.
- Twenty-two cases of the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus have been detected in India, with 16 of them being reported from Maharashtra and the remaining from Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, according to the government.
- At a press conference, Niti Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul said there is a consistent improvement in the pandemic situation but stressed that people must continue to follow COvid-19-appropriate behaviour and avoid crowds and parties.
- Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there has been an almost 90 per cent decline in India's daily Covid-19 cases as compared to the highest peak reported on May 7.
- He also said that a sharp decline of 84 per cent in weekly positivity rate has been noted since the highest reported weekly positivity of 21.4 per cent, recorded between May 4 and 10.
- Over the past 24 hours India reported 42,640 new infections, the lowest since March 23, and 1,167 deaths.
- Infections now stand at 29.98 million, with a death toll of 389,302, health ministry data showed.