Of the 14 Covid-19 samples processed by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to check genome sequencing, eight have tested positive for the new variant found in the UK, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday. The 14 samples were sent to the lab from the Delhi airport, where the passengers travelling from the UK had tested positive.
Senior officials from the health department said among those with the new variant, three are from Punjab, two from Haryana and one each from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra. One of the returnees found carrying the variant had fled to Andhra Pradesh from Delhi and is admitted to a hospital there.
“The remaining seven are availing treatment in the special ward of Lok Nayak hospital. Of the first group of flyers who tested positive for Covid-19, three have been found to have the new variant. Among them, two are from Punjab and one from Andhra Pradesh,” said a senior official from the state health department.
Delhi, meanwhile, reported 677 new cases of Covid-19 and 21 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 6,24,795 and the death toll to 10,523. The daily positivity rate has been recorded at 0.80% while the death rate based on the last 10 days’ data has been recorded at 3.16%.
The Delhi government has designated Lok Nayak hospital for the treatment of all passengers from the UK who test positive for Covid-19. There are 38 patients admitted in the special ward of the hospital. A senior doctor from the hospital said, “The report of genome sequencing of 28 passengers is still awaited.”
On Wednesday, the Delhi government also directed four private hospitals — Max hospital in Saket, Batra hospital in Tughlakabad, Fortis hospital in Vasant Kunj and Sir Ganga Ram hospital — to create special isolation wards for passengers who have travelled from or transited through the UK between November 25 and December 24.
While the Civil Aviation Ministry had suspended flights from the UK immediately after the new strain was discovered, the two flights in which 11 passengers tested positive for Covid-19 landed in Delhi later.
“The state government had then decided to test all the passengers who had travelled from the UK between November 25 and December 23. A list was shared with each district and contacts of those tested positive have been quarantined. While we are sharing the list with other states of all the passengers who have de-boarded the flight at the Delhi airport, we are also asking for the list of Delhi residents who are in other states and have travelled from the UK,” said another district official.
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