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Covid-19: Tamil Nadu reports 9 cases of Delta Plus variant, Health Minister says no need to panic

Tamil Nadu has so far reported nine cases of patients infected with Delta Plus variant, said Director General, ICMR, Balram Bhargava, in a press briefing Friday evening.  

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
June 25, 2021 9:18:57 pm
A medic takes swab samples for COVID-19 test of people entering Tamil Nadu from Andhra Pradesh state border at Christianpet check post in Vellore district, Tuesday. (PTI)

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Ma Subramanian said the state has detected  three cases of three Delta Plus variants, adding that the variant isn’t spreading and people need not panic. He also said that a testing centre will soon be set up in the state as a preventive measure to curb the spread and to avoid the delay in getting the results from the Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (DBT-inStem) in Bengaluru. He said the state had sent over 1,100 samples to the lab.

Addressing the reporters in Chennai, Subramanian said the three infected people belong to Kottur in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Madurai.

“We are following the same Covid-19 protocol. As far as the Kottur case is concerned, the nurse was treated and she has gone back to work. In Kancheepuram too, the person was treated and he is doing well. and has gone back to work. All the contacts of these three people were tested and we found none of them had contracted Delta Plus virus. The person from Madurai succumbed to the Covid-19. His sample has now been found positive for the Delta plus virus,” he said.

Subramanian added that Chief Minister MK Stalin has instructed them to carry out tests regularly in positive areas.

“There are 14 centres in India to identify Delta Plus variant and all of them are under the Central government. They are being conducted as per the ICMR guidelines. We require certain permissions to conduct those tests in our state. We have started taking initiatives to acquire those permissions, we are planning to set up the testing centre in Chennai. This is done to avoid the delay in getting the results, it will cost about two crore rupees. We have identified a couple of  places, in another 20-25 days we will be able to set up the centre in Chennai,” he added.

Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Dr. Subramanian Swaminathan, Director – Infectious Diseases, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai said both Covaxin and Covishield provide reasonable protection against severe diseases. He added that the government should increase genome sequencing, tracking of cases and make sure the public follow SOPs.

“We are doing very few samples. The person who was infected is a health care provider, she could be spreading to more people. If she had been staying in a community, the possibility of the variant the case with Delta plus variant. We need to start tracking it, do more genome sequencing and study more cases. We need to see if the active cases are rising, not asymptomatic cases, but patients who have clinical illness and require hospitalization. If that number is rising then we have an issue. We need to focus on basic preventive measures like masking, maintaining social distancing and vaccination. We cannot compromise on this as they are absolutely critical,” he added.

Dr. P Kulandaisamy, the former Public health director of Tamil Nadu said the government needs to change their strategies and methodologies only if there is a change in vaccines, diagnosis, preventive measures, and treatment measures.

“As long as there is no change in any of these four things, we don’t need to provide any undue attention to this new variant. Monitoring that in the backend is required but our focus should be more on improving ventilation, enhancing the use of open spaces, immunization, hand wash, etc. There has been a decline in Covid-19 cases in the state due to the stringent lockdown measures but now that the government has announced relaxations, there is a higher chance of infection to spread. The government needs to make sure they leave no stones unturned, closed and contained spaces should be reduced. The hospitals, pediatric wards, should be made ready to face the next wave,” he said.

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