New COVID-19 strain: Flyers from UK test positive in India
New COVID-19 strain: More than 22 passengers flying from the United Kingdom to India have tested positive for Coronavirus
Amid the alarming concerns over a new COVID-19 strain, at least 22 people who came to India from the United Kingdom over the past few days have tested positive for the disease.
As per media reports, 11 of these people who have tested COVID-19 positive are in Delhi, eight in Amritsar, two in Kolkata and one in Chennai. Indian airport authorities have carried out comprehensive testing of passengers flying from the UK to various parts of the country.
“A total of 950+ inbound passengers from London were tested at our lab at T3 terminal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport and 11 of them tested positive,” said Gauri Agarwal, founder of the Genestrings Diagnostic Center which carried out COVID-19 testing of all UK passengers at the Delhi airport.
As of now, positive samples have been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi for further analysis in relation to the new strain that has struck the UK.
The Union government suspended international flights between Indian and the UK, with effect from Wednesday. In line with the civil aviation ministry’s announcement, state governments also mobilised their efforts to test passengers arriving in India in the interim. It has also been reported that district surveillance officers will be contacting international travellers who flew to India from the UK between November 25 and December 8 in order to advise them on self-monitoring their health amid the threat from new Coronavirus strain.
They will be subjected to COVID-19 RT-PCR test, in case they develop any symptoms of the disease. According to ICMR guidelines, those people who came in contact with UK travellers who arrived at Indian airports between December 21-22 will also be subjected to institutional quarantine in case they test positive.
The Health Ministry also issued a standard operating procedure to travellers from the UK to India in view of increasing concerns over the fast-spreading strain of Coronavirus. More than 50 passengers who travelled by UK flights to India have been placed under institutional quarantine since the ministry issued the order.
Besides India, more than 50 countries have imposed a travel ban and other restrictions for flights and travellers from the UK for at least a week to counter the new strain of Coronavirus.
British health secretary Matt Hancock on Wednesday stated that the new, more infectious strain of Coronavirus is linked to South Africa. British health authorities have also confirmed that they are ensuring all efforts to contain the spread of the mutated strain of COVID-19 which is reportedly 70 per cent more transmissible.