New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MohFW) on Monday (January 4, 2021) said that a total of 38 samples have been found to be positive with the new COVID-19 UK variant genome across India.
According to MoHFW, there are 10 cases in Bengaluru's NIMHANS, 3 in CCMB (Hyderabad), 5 in NIV (Pune), 11 in IGIB (Delhi), 8 in NCDC (New Delhi) and 1 in NCBG (Kolkata).
The MoHFW said that the NCBS, InSTEM, Bengaluru, CDFD Hyderabad, ILS Bhubaneswar, and NCCS Pune have so far found no UK mutant virus.
The positive samples are being tested at 10 INSACOG labs (NIBMG Kolkata, ILS Bhubaneswar, NIV Pune, NCCS Pune, CCMB Hyderabad, CDFD Hyderabad, InSTEM Bengaluru, NIMHANS Bengaluru, IGIB Delhi, NCDC Delhi) for genome sequencing.
"All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated Health Care facilities by 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 Union Health Ministry.
They added that the situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the States for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing & dispatch of samples to INSACOG labs.
Earlier on January 2, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) stated that India became the first country in the world to successfully isolate and culture the new, mutated strain of the novel coronavirus.
“UK-variant of the virus, with all signature changes, is now successfully isolated and cultured at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) from the clinical specimens collected from UK-returnees,” the apex medical body shared on microblogging site Twitter.
India successfully cultures the new viral strain on the horizon (UK-variant of SARS-CoV-2). #ICMRFIGHTSCOVID19 #IndiaFightsCOVID19 #CoronaUpdatesInIndia #COVID19 #Unite2FightCorona @MoHFW_INDIA @PIB_India @DrHVoffice @drharshvardhan @AshwiniKChoubey @icmr_niv pic.twitter.com/vaCMQMSHOJ
— ICMR (@ICMRDELHI) January 2, 2021
This is to be noted that apart from India, the new strain has been reported in several countries including Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.
Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, the aviation ministry has partially restricted the operations of flights between India and the UK.
Flights from India to the UK can commence from January 6, while operations from the UK to India will begin on January 8. The ministry has also issued a set of guidelines for passengers from the UK. All passengers will have to submit a self-declaration form on the online portal of Delhi Airport (www.newdelhiairport.in) and need to carry a negative report of the RT-PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.