Uttarahalli-based couple and child are among 6 UK returnees across the country found carrying the more infectious coronavirus strain
Trio in Victoria Hospital, BBMP gets cracking to trace around 35 contacts
Three Bengalureans, who were among the UK returnees who had entered India before the ban on UK-origin flights on December 23, have tested positive for the new, and reportedly more infectious, variant of Covid-19.
A total of 6 samples of 6 UK returnees nationwide have been found to be positive for the new UK variant genome — 3 in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV.
The 3 Bengalureans are Uttarahalli residents – husband (40), wife (34) and six-year-old daughter. The mother and daughter were earlier admitted in the government’s Victoria Hospital and, considering the child’s tender age, she has been allowed to stay with her mother. The husband tested positive for Covid more recently and is also in Victoria Hospital. BBMP has already initiated steps to track their primary and secondary contacts, who could be between 30 and 35 persons.
All 6 mutant-carrying returnees nationwide have been kept in single-room isolation in designated health care facilities by the state governments concerned, and their close contacts have been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is ongoing.
Centre’s Code Red
Recently, the Centre had taken notice of reports of a mutant variant of the coronavirus reported in the UK, and had established a comprehensive strategy to detect and contain the new strain.
A total of 6 samples of 6 UK returnee persons have been found to be positive with the new U.K variant genome. 3 in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV, Pune. 2/2— PIB India (@PIB_India) December 29, 2020
The broad outlines of the strategy are:
•Temporary suspension of all flights from the UK with effect from December 23 midnight to December 31 midnight.
•Mandatory RT-PCR testing of all UK returnees by air, and positive samples to be genome sequenced by a consortium of 10 government labs (INSACOG).
•SOPs for states/UTs to tackle the mutant variant were issued on December 22.
The entire issue was examined at length by the National Task Force (NTF) on December 26, and it was concluded that there is no need to change either the existing national treatment protocol or the existing testing protocols in view of the mutant variant. Additionally, the NTF recommended that in addition to the existing surveillance strategy, it is critical to conduct enhanced genomic surveillance.
114 returnees under lens
According to the Cente, from November 25 to the midnight of December 23, approximately 33,000 UK returnees disembarked at various Indian airports. All were tracked and subjected to RT-PCR tests, and so far only 114 have been found positive. These positive samples have been sent to 10 INSACOG labs (NIBMG Kolkata, ILS Bhubaneswar, NIV Pune, CCS Pune, CCMB Hyderabad, CDFD Hyderabad, InSTEM Bengaluru, NIMHANS Bengaluru, IGIB Delhi and NCDC Delhi) for genome sequencing.
According to the Centre, 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.
The issue of the mutant coronavirus strain, initially reported in the UK, assumes critical importance as it has already been reported by Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.