Passengers queue to get their documents verified before entering the IGI Airport amid the lockdown in New Delhi on May 30, 2020.(Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
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UK strain infects 145 people in India; situation under careful watch, says govt

The B.1.1.7 variant genome, which is much more infectious, has prompted comprehensive contact tracing for co-travellers, family members and others of those who have travelled to the UK in the last two months.
Written by Arpan Rai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:44 PM IST

A total of 145 people have been infected by the coronavirus strain that was first reported in the United Kingdom, the health ministry said on Thursday.

"The total number of persons found infected with the UK strain of Covid-19 is 145," the ministry said on Thursday.

Those infected by the virus have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by respective state governments, officials had said earlier.

The close contacts of the infected individuals have also been put under quarantine, the health ministry said.

Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on, the ministry said.

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 (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) labs.

The B.1.1.7 variant genome, which is much more infectious, has prompted comprehensive contact tracing for co-travellers, family members and others of those who have travelled to the UK in the last two monthsys.

From November 25 to the midnights of December 23, 2020, about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK, the government said. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected by states to RT-PCR tests to detect the presence of the new variant.

The government took cognisance of the reports of the virus reported from the UK and said it has put in place a proactive and preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant.

This strategy included temporary suspension of all flights coming from the UK from December 23 to January 7 and mandatory RT-PCR test for all UK-returnees.

The samples of all those found positive in the RT-PCR test will be genome sequenced by a consortium of 10 government labs.

Countries like Russia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore have also reported cases of the new variant so far.

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