The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday alerted Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh over the spread of Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 virus. The ministry asked these states to take up immediate containment measures, enhance testing, tracking and vaccination in districts and clusters where this variant is found.
"Based on the recent findings of INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia), the Union Health Ministry has alerted and advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh regarding the Delta Plus variant of COVID19 being found in some districts in these States: Government of India", the ministry said in a statement.
Further, the central government has stated that adequate samples of positive persons must be promptly sent to designated laboratories of INSACOG so that the clinical epidemiological correlations can be made.
"Union Health Secretary has communicated to these 3 states this variant has been found in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri & Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra; Palakkad & Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala; & Bhopal and Shivpuri districts of Madhya Pradesh", the Union Ministry said.
Twenty-two cases of the Delta plus variant of the coronavirus have been detected in India, with 16 of them being reported from Maharashtra and the remaining from Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, the government said today earlier.
Union Health Ministry has advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh that the Public Health Response measures, while broadly remaining the same as have been implemented by them earlier, have to become more focused and effective.
States Chief Secretaries have been advised to take up immediate containment measures in the dists & clusters (as identified by INSACOG) incl preventing crowds& intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on priority basis.
INSACOG is a consortium of 28 laboratories of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Dept. of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for whole genome sequencing in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. INSACOG is tasked with not just the whole genome sequencing but also for giving timely inputs on appropriate Public Health Response measures to be adopted by States and UTs. INSACOG has informed that the Delta Plus Variant, currently a Variant of Concern (VOC), has the following characteristics: