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Home >News >India >Delhi: LG Anil Baijal directs cluster-based genome sequencing as new Covid strains suspected

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has directed officials to launch cluster-based genome sequencing testing in the city as authorities and experts discussed new Covid-19 variants at a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.

There was no official confirmation, however, if the mutant coronavirus variants have emerged in Delhi till now, even though recent reports have cited a Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) study to claim that 7,569 mutants are in circulation in India.

Sources have told news agency PTI that the lieutenant governor was told at the DDMA meeting that the newly-identified Indian mutants are "highly contagious" and that experts viewed it as a "major cause of concern".

"To deal with the new variants, the (Delhi) government will undertake cluster-based genome sequencing testing in Delhi. Testing, tracing and isolating will be intensified in the coming days," they added.

Mutant Covid-19 variants linked to the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil have been detected in India so far.

The DDMA meeting was chaired by the LG and it was also attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Chief Secretary Vijay Dev and other senior Delhi government officers.

The LG also said there should be no lowering of guard against the coronavirus.

"In view of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, Kerala and other states, the LG has directed authorities to take all necessary steps to prevent any rise in virus cases in Delhi and that there should be no lowering of guard against coronavirus in the city," a source said.

The country has recorded a steady rise in the number of coronavirus active cases over the past few days with a surge in daily infections in five states -- Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab -- and Jammu and Kashmir, prompting the Centre to direct them to refocus on strict surveillance, containment and RT-PCR testing.

The national capital, which has witnessed three waves of the coronavirus, has not reported a surge in cases over the last few weeks.

In the DDMA meeting on Monday, sources said that officials were directed to take steps to prevent a rise in COVID-19 cases in the city, including arrangements for people arriving from Maharashtra and other states that have witnessing the surge, sources said.

Baijal also directed officials to speed up the ongoing vaccination drive in the city and ensure the current levels of RT-PCR testing and tracking are sustained.

It was decided at the meeting that public buses and metro trains in the national capital would run at their current limited capacities for at least two more weeks, the sources said.

“Delhi Metro trains and public buses will run at previously fixed limited capacities for now. It is a vigilant wait-and-watch for another two weeks," a source said.

Delhi recorded 128 new COVID-19 cases and one fatality on Monday, even as the positivity rate stood at 0.30 per cent.

With the latest update in figures, the authorities said, the overall death toll rose to 10,901 and the number of cases went up to 6,38,028.

The 128 new cases came out of 42,242 tests -- including 31,234 RT-PCR tests and 11,008 rapid antigen tests -- conducted on Sunday, a health bulletin said.

The number of active cases stands at 1,041, it showed.

With agency inputs

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