Recently the UK reported that a new COVID-19 strain is currently "out of control" in the island nation. The news has sent ripples of alarm through the world, with many countries closing their borders to the UK and imposing restrictions. With several people returning from the UK and then testing positive recently, many in India now fear a fresh spike in cases stemming from the the new and far more infectious mutation. And now, it would seem that the possibility has become far more real.
According to a Deccan Chronicle report, a woman who had arrived from London at the Delhi Airport on December 21 has now tested positive for the mutated strain of COVID-19. Not only that, the woman reportedly escaped from the quarantine centre and eventually tried to take a train to her hometown. On Wednesday, after a nation-wide alert was sounded, railway police officials found her travelling in the first class coach of a train from Delhi to Rajahmundry.
"We talked to the UK research community and we came to know that the mutation has enhanced the transmissibility rate of the virus. It is being said that 70 per cent transmissibility rate has increased. We can say that the virus has become super-spreader," said Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog recently.
The Health Ministry however has struck a cautionary note, stating on Wednesday that it would be incorrect to say that the new strain had entered India until genome sequencing was conducted and it was established by a designated laboratory. There has not been follow-up remarks in conjunction with the Vijaywada case.
She is however not the only person to have been linked to the new strain. A 28-year-old man in Nagpur, who tested positive for COVID-19 on December 15, is suspected of carrying the new strain of COVID-19 found in the United Kingdom, administration of Government Medical College, Nagpur said on Thursday.