It said the mutated UK strain was detected in samples in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune.
All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts, and others, the health ministry said in a press release.
“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 ministry said.
The positive samples of the six returnees have been sent to 10 INSACOG labs for genome sequencing.
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, so far, the ministry said.
In the wake of the reports of the new Covid strain, the government has suspended all flights coming from UK with effect from the midnight of December 23, 2020 till December 31, 2020. The government has also ordered a mandatory testing of all UK returnee air passengers through RT-PCR test.
The list of all UK arrivals has been shared by Bureau of Immigration with states and all passengers who arrived between November 25 and December 20 are being tracked by the IDSP State Surveillance Units and District Surveillance Units.
New Covid strain 56 per cent more contagious
A mutated coronavirus strain spreading in Britain is on average 56 per cent more contagious than the original version, scientists have warned in a study, urging a fast vaccine rollout to help prevent more deaths.
The new variant, which emerged in southeast England in November and is spreading fast, is likely to boost hospitalisations and deaths from Covid next year, according to the study published on Wednesday by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Researchers, focusing on the English south east, east and London, said it was still uncertain whether the mutated strain was more or less deadly than its predecessor.