5 new cases of mutant UK virus found, total 25 cases

The Centre on Thursday said that five more cases of the mutant Coronavirus from the UK have been detected in the country, taking the total tally of such cases to 25 so far.

Out of the five new cases, four have been found by the National Institute of Virology in Pune and one by CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi.

“All 25 persons are in physical isolation in health facilities,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Of the 20 other cases, eight have been registered at National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi, 7 at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bangalore, two at Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad.

Besides, one each has been logged at National Institute of Biomedical Genomics near Kolkata, National Institute of Virology in Pune and CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi.

On Tuesday, a total of six UK returnees were found to be positive with the new variant genome, the central government had announced, and added that all these people have been kept in a single room isolation in designated health care facilities.

These were the first cases to be reported by the country that has the second highest number of cases after the United States.

The British Government had recently announced that the newly identified strain of the virus found in their population is up to 70 per cent more transmissible.

It is important to note that the presence of the new UK variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

Pursuant to announcement by British Government, Indian government had taken cognisance of the reports of mutant variant and put in place a pro-active and preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant.

It included temporary suspension of all flights coming from UK with effect from the midnight of December 23 till 31. It was later extended to January 7. The coronavirus-induced suspension of scheduled international passenger flights other than air bubble ones has been extended till January 31.

From November 25 to December 23 midnight, about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected by states and UTs to RT-PCR tests.