20 UK returnees in India have new Covid strain

Chennai: A total of 20 people in India now have the new coronavirus strain, according to government data today.

This includes results of the six who tested positive and were announced to have the new strain on Tuesday. The samples that tested positive for the new strain were 8 from NCDC, Delhi; 7 from NIMHANS, Bengaluru; 2 from CCMB, Hyderabad; 1 from NIBG Kalyani near Kolkata; 1 from NIV, Pune and 1 from IGIB, Delhi.

A network of 10 laboratories has been set up to carry out the genetic sequencing of not only those who returned from the UK but also 5 per cent of other RT-PCR positive samples to detect other mutations of the virus that may be circulating in India.

“This particular virus strain may have its own run- it has travelled to many countries – so we have to be very careful. Initially, it is easy to suppress the spread of the virus because the chain of transmission is smaller,” Dr VK Paul, a member of the Niti Aayog, said.

While the new Covid-19 strain is believed to 70 per cent more transmissible than the older strain, scientists have said it is less lethal. The new variant has also been found to affect people in the age group of 30-60 years.

Meanwhile, with 20,549 fresh infections, India’s Coronavirus caseload rose to 1,02,44,852 today.

According to Union Health Ministry data released this morning, the country’s Covid-19 death toll has increased to 1,48,439 with 286 new fatalities.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 98,34,141 pushing the national recovery rate to 95.99 per cent, while the Covid-19 case fatality ratestands at 1.45 per cent.

The Covid-19 active caseload remained below 3 lakh for the ninth consecutive day. There are 2,62,272 active cases of Coronavirus infections in the country which comprises 2.56 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.


NT Bureau