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A man has his face covered as a precaution against coronavirus as he walks on a promenade on the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai. (AP)
A man has his face covered as a precaution against coronavirus as he walks on a promenade on the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai. (AP)

New coronavirus strain in India: Tally touches 71 after 13 more UK returnees test positive

  • The results are based on the genome sequencing of positive samples released by the INSACOG labs that the Central Government has specifically allotted for the purpose of monitoring any kind of mutations in Covid-19

Thirteen more people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in India have been found to be infected with the new mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2. With this, the number of people infected with the new UK virus in India has reached 71, the government has said.

Ministry of Science and Technology's Department of Biotechnology secretary Renu Swarup has stated in a media briefing, "71 people have been identified as carrying the UK variant strain (of coronavirus) till today in India".

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The results are based on the genome sequencing of positive samples released by the Indian Sars-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) labs that the Central Government has specifically created for the purpose of monitoring any kind of mutations in Covid-19.

The positive samples are being tested at a consortium of 10 government labs -- NIBMG Kolkata, ILS Bhubaneswar, NIV Pune, NCCS Pune, CCMB Hyderabad, CDFD Hyderabad, InSTEM Bengaluru, NIMHANS Bengaluru, IGIB Delhi, NCDC Delhi -- for genome sequencing.

The health officials have started comprehensive contact tracing for co-travellers, family contacts and others in order to curb the spread of the mutated variant of Sars-CoV-2.

The Union health ministry had earlier said: "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."

As per the government data, around 33,000 passengers disembarked at various airports in India from the UK between 25 November to 23 December midnight.

All these returnees from the UK are being tracked and subjected by states and Union Territories to RT-PCR tests.

"All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated Health Care facilities by respective State Governments. 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 health ministry said in a statement.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore have reported the presence of the new UK virus so far.

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