Coronavirus | Six U.K. returnees test positive for new variant

Patients in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune have been kept in single-room isolation facilities.

A total of six samples of the recent U.K. returnees have been found to be positive with a variant of SARS- CoV-2 virus reported from that country.

“3 in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad, and 1 in NIV, Pune,” said a Health Ministry note.

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These persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by the respective State governments. 

“Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on,” said the Ministry.

From November 25 to December 23, 2020 midnight, about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the U.K. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected by States/UTs to RT-PCR tests. So far, only 114 have been found positive. These positive samples have been sent to 10 INSACOG labs (NIBMG Kolkata, ILS Bhubaneswar, NIV Pune, CCS Pune, CCMB Hyderabad, CDFD Hyderabad, InSTEM Bengaluru, NIMHANS Bengaluru, IGIB Delhi, NCDC Delhi) for genome sequencing.

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The Ministry said the situation was under careful watch and regular advice was being provided to the States for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples.

A U.K. returnee to Tamil Nadu, who had tested positive for COVID-19 and was already in hospital isolation, tested positive for the new U.K. strain, State Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said on Tuesday. His sample was tested at NIV, Pune.

So far, the presence of the new U.K. variant has been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

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The three persons with the new variant in Bangalore include a mother and her six-year-old daughter, who have been admitted in Trauma and Emergency Care Centre (TECC) on Victoria Hospital campus, and are asymptomatic. The third person, a 33-year-old male, is moderately symptomatic and is being monitored in a private hospital on Bannerghatta Road in the city.

Four more

Highly placed sources in the State Health Department said four more UK returnees from Karnataka have tested positive for the new variant. “A total of seven returnees have been found to be carriers of the new strain in Karnataka. An official announcement of the additional four cases is likely to be made on Wednesday,” sources said.

So far, the presence of the new U.K. variant has been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

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