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Delta Plus: Head of India’s Covid task force asks Delhi govt to consult Centre before imposing inter-state travel curbs

Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev had flagged the presence of the Delta Plus variant, which is a mutated version of the Delta variant, in 12 states.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
Updated: July 23, 2021 10:34:03 am
Crowds have returned to the streets of Delhi as Covid-related restrictions are eased. (Photo: PTI)

The head of India’s Covid task force, Dr VK Paul, has suggested to the Delhi government to consult the Centre before imposing inter-state travel restrictions in the wake of more states reporting cases of the Delta Plus variant of the novel coronavirus.

To date, 12 states have reported the variant.

The issue came up during a meeting of DDMA (Delhi Disaster Management Authority) — the body that steers the city’s Covid prevention and mitigation policies — on July 9. The records of the meeting were finalized on July 20, according to a DDMA document.

“The advice of the Centre should be taken before imposing any restrictions on movement of inter-state travel as Delhi is the capital of the country,” Paul had said according to a statement by DDMA.

At the meeting, Delhi chief secretary Vijay Dev had flagged the presence of the Delta Plus variant, which is a mutated version of the Delta variant, in 12 states. It has been classified as a variant of concern in India.

Dev also raised the issue of the high number of positive cases being reported by the states in the Northeast. The meeting was attended by Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, ICMR scientist Dr Samiran Panda, and AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria among others.

“Delhi, being the capital of the country, is visited by people from all over India. In view of this, guidance of experts is needed on what kind of measures are needed in Delhi to prevent the spread of Delta variant cases. He (chief secretary) said that some restrictive measures were imposed in Delhi such as carrying negative RT-PCR reports for people coming from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra,” the DDMA document informed.

The Delhi government had, in May, imposed restrictions such as negative RT-PCR reports or fully vaccinated certificates for people coming from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The restrictions were lifted in June, but by early July, as the Delta Plus variant spread to more states, the government mulled bringing back some of the curbs.

At the meeting, Baijal observed that measures imposed in May “could be tried out”, while adding that it would also be “appropriate” to follow measures suggested by the Union Health Ministry.

Subsequently, no restrictions were imposed.

The states and Union Territories that have recorded Delta Plus cases are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Kerala, Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.

Meanwhile, at the meeting, the Indian Council of Medical Research told DDMA that the timing of a possible third wave of Covid-19 “remains uncertain” and outside the scope of mathematical calculations.

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