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Tamil Nadu had recorded its first death due to the newly detected Delta Plus variant of Covid-19.

State health minister Ma Subramanian said on Saturday that a person from Madurai has succumbed to the new strain.

"After the death of the Madurai patient, their samples were collected, which confirmed that it was 'Delta Plus' variant," said Subramanian.

However, the patient's contacts have tested negative.

Delta Plus across India

According to the Union health ministry, 51 cases of Delta Plus have been found in the country with Maharashtra reporting the highest number at 22. It is followed by Tamil Nadu, which saw nine people testing positive.

Madhya Pradesh is next on the list with seven cases and Kerala with three cases, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Karnataka, have reported one case each.

Gujarat and Punjab are also on the list with two cases each, respectively. The Union Territory of Jammu has also reported one case.

The Centre has urged eight states and union territories to take up immediate containment measures, including preventing crowds, conducting widespread testing as well as increasing vaccine coverage on a priority basis in districts where the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus has been detected.

The measures were suggested by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter to Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Haryana.

He also urged the states to ensure that adequate samples of people who test positive for Covid-19 are promptly sent to the designated laboratories of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be established.

"You are aware that INSACOG is a consortium of laboratories for whole-genome sequencing in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. INSACOG is tasked with not just the whole genome sequencing but also giving timely inputs on appropriate public health response in specific geographies where variants have been found," he said.

"It has been intimated by INSACOG that the Delta Plus variant, which is currently a variant of concern (VOC), has the following characteristics -- increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response," he added.

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