New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday issued an advisory and alerted three states - Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh on the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 after certain districts reported the presence of the virus in some of the samples tested from these states. Cases of the Delta plus variant have been detected in Maharashtra's Ratnagiri and Jalgaon and parts of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.
The ministry advised the authorities to ensure that people strictly follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and avoid crowds and parties. "Uptake of vaccination has to be increased," NITI Aayog Member (Health) VK Paul said. It also directed states to take up immediate containment measures, enhanced testing, tracking and vaccination in districts and clusters where the Delta plus variant was found.
India is among the nine countries where the Delta plus mutation has been found so far, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press briefing, underlining that it is currently a 'variant of interest' and has not yet been classified as a 'variant of concern'. Besides India, the Delta Plus variant has been found in the US, UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, China and Russia.
The Delta variant has been detected in 80 countries, he said.
He said the Health Ministry has released an advisory on the kind of public health response that Maharashtra, MP and Kerala should initiate to address this issue which "presently looks fairly small in terms of number but we would not want this to assume significant proportions".
Delta variant has been detected in 80 countries around the world, including India and it is a 'variant of concern'.
He further said that INSACOG has 28 laboratories and they have sequenced 45,000 samples, of which 22 cases of delta plus variant have been found.