In the wake of the emergence of a mutated and highly infectious strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom (UK), the Pune district administration has identified a total of 512 persons with recent travel history to the UK, and successfully traced 444 of them in the last few days. Local authorities have been collecting information about persons who have returned from the UK between November 25 (when the new strain was first spotted in the UK) and December 22, when India banned flights to and from the country.
The special surveillance operation being carried out to find and trace UK returnees in Pune district was discussed at the Covid-19 situation review meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday.
According to the district administration, a total of 512 persons who had returned to Pune from the UK between November 25 and December 22 have so far been identified from the data received from various airlines. One person from Pune district and another from Pimpri-Chinchwad have tested positive but are asymptomatic.
“Of the total 512 returnees, 300 are from Pune city, 115 are from Pimpri-Chinchwad and 66 from rural parts of the district. Addresses and contact details of 31 passengers have been found to be incomplete or invalid,” said Pune Zilla Parishad Chief Executive Officer Ayush Prasad. “So far, 444 persons from this list have been traced, 396 of them have been tested and only one was found Covid positive. We are trying to trace 68 returnees who have not yet been traced…,” said Prasad.
He said one person who had returned from UK on December 13 has tested positive. “He was asympotomatic and is fine now,” he said. This traveller was said to have come in contact with three persons, two of whom were tested and found to be negative.
PCMC Additional Health chief Dr Pavan Salve said the civic body has traced 115 persons who had returned from UK. “One person tested positive. He is 35 years old and is asymptomatic,” said Salve.
He said 15 persons are currently out of town, adding, “we will conduct their tests when they return.”
During the meeting, Pawar directed local authorities to take added precautions in light of the emergence of the new strain. He also appealed to local residents to follow social distancing measures and wear masks while stepping out of their home.
He also directed the administration keep a close watch on the district’s health infrastructure so that every needy person gets access to a well-equipped hospital. Pawar also reviewed the vaccine administration plan for the district.
Since Pune does not have a direct flight to the UK, most incoming passengers fly to Mumbai and then travel to Pune by road. District officials said many travellers also choose to fly to the United Arab Emirates and then fly to Pune, via the direct flights between Dubai and Pune.
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