India reports first 6 cases of new COVID-19 strain after UK returnees test positive
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Six people who returned to India from the United Kingdom have tested positive for the new UK variant genome of SARS-CoV2, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

According to a report by NDTV, three of the patients are in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune.

All these persons have been kept in single room isolation at designated health care facilities by respective state governments and 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. The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to INSACOG labs," the health ministry said.

It is important to note that the presence of the new UK Variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore, so far, the health ministry said.

Last week, the Indian government had taken cognizance of the reports of mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus reported from the UK and put in place a proactive and preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant. It included temporary suspension of all flights coming from the UK with effect from the midnight of December 23 till 31.

Testing of all UK returnee air passengers through RT-PCR test was made mandatory. The samples of all UK returnees found positive in RT-PCR test to be genome sequenced by a consortium of ten government labs.

The strategy also included a meeting of the National Task Force (NTF) on Covid-19 on December 26 to consider and recommend Testing, Treatment, Surveillance and Containment Strategy. Standard Operating Protocol for states and UTs to tackle the mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 were also issued on December 22.

(Inputs from PTI)

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