India has recorded six cases of the new variant genome of SARS-CoV2, which was first reported in the United Kingdom, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
“A total of 6 samples of returnees have been found positive with the new UK variant genome,” said the ministry in a statement.
"Three samples in NIMHANS [National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences] of Bengaluru, two in CCMB [Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology] Hyderabad and one in NIV [National Institute of Virology] Pune have been detected positive out of all the samples," said the statement.
The statement further said: “All these persons have been kept in single-room isolation in designated healthcare facilities by respective state governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travelers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on.
“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 (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) labs.”
Around 33,000 passengers arrived in India from the UK between Nov. 25 and Dec. 23. Out of them, 114 passengers have tested positive so far.
The presence of the new UK variant has already been reported by Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.
Meanwhile, India reported 16,432 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest daily cases in the last six months, taking the tally to 10.23 million. Over 9.8 million people have recovered from the disease so far. With 252 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll reached 148,000.