In Punjab, 80% of cases are due to the UK variant of COVID-19: Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said that around 80 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in Punjab are due to the UK variant as confirmed by genome sequencing. He asserted that the reasons behind the surge in fresh infections could be marriages, local body elections and farmer protests.

"In Punjab, 80 per cent of the cases due to the UK variant have been found and it has been confirmed by genome sequencing. It has come to notice that this surge in cases is event-driven like big fat weddings, local body elections, farmer protest, etc could also play a possible role," Harsh Vardhan was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Genomic sequencing is an advanced test that determines the precise genetic information a virus carries as viruses mutate as they multiply and spread.

Meanwhile, Dr Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said everything is still under control but pointed lapses including casual behaviour and carelessness behind the surge.

Speaking during a video conferencing with Health Ministers of 11 states to review the COVID-19 situation, the minister said the country's recovery rate is at 92.38 per cent while the case fatality rate is at 1.30 per cent despite increasing cases.

"In last two months, the country witnessed a sudden surge of COVID-19 cases. When our active cases were low... Our recovery rate is 92.38 per cent. Despite the increasing cases, the fatality rate is at 1.30 per cent of the country," Vardhan said.

"It is a matter of concern for us... After one year of experience, we have gained knowledge but with time there are some lapses. I believe everything is still under control. If we implement our strategy properly which we followed earlier, then the number of new cases will drop," he added.

"All activities have been resumed. A casual approach emerged in society. Carelessness is a big factor," he highlighted.

Vardhan said that the worst affected COVID-19 state is Chhattisgarh with a positivity rate of 20 per cent.

"Worst affected state is Chhattisgarh with a positivity rate of 20 per cent and growth rate of 8 per cent. There has been 10 fold rise in cases," he said.

(With inputs from ANI)

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