India finds 6 cases of new covid variant among travelers from Britain

New Delhi, Dec 29 (efe-epa).- Six people who flew in from Britain recently have tested positive for the more contagious strain of the coronavirus that has prompted fresh border closures across the world after it was first detected in the United Kingdom.

“All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities,” the health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine.”

The statement said that the health authorities have launched a “comprehensive contact tracing” drive for their co-travelers and family contacts.

The statement said that the genome sequencing on other specimens was going on.

India has put in place a preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant in the country.

As part of such measures, the government suspended temporarily all flights coming from the UK from Dec 23 until Dec.31.

However, some 33,000 passengers had flown in from Nov.25 before the ban came into place, the ministry said.

“All these passengers are being tracked and subjected to (coronavirus) tests,” it said.

Some 114 of these fliers have tested positive, whose samples have been sent for genome sequencing by a consortium of 10 government labs.

“The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples (the) labs,” the ministry said.

The detection of the rapidly-spreading virus has come as India had slowed down the virus outbreak after hitting the peak in September.

The country reported 16,432 new Covid-19 cases and 252 deaths in the last 24 hours from Tuesday morning.

The total number of cases has now jumped to more than 10.2 million while the death toll from the virus has climbed to 148,153.

According to the health ministry data, the total recovered cases in the second-most populous country in the world have crossed 9.8 million, “which translates to a recovery rate of 95.92 percent.”

The new variant of the virus has been found in Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon, South Korea, and Singapore. EFE-EPA


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