March 28, 2021 2:56:41 am
Amid a steady increase in Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh, at least four cases of the South African strain of the disease were confirmed in Agra and Mathura since Friday. At present, the South African and Brazilian variants are among the dominant strains of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, circulating around the world.
One of those who has tested positive for the South African variant is a woman from a village in Mathura, whose samples were collected for tests on March 3. Two days later, she was confirmed Covid-positive at the Mathura Deen Dayal Veterinary University.
The genome sequencing of her samples conducted by King George’s Medical University (KGMU) here confirmed that she was infected with the South African variant.
“The woman was put in home quarantine after being tested positive and has since also completed her quarantine period. With the discovery that the virus she contracted was of South African strain, she has been put in home quarantine again. We will conduct intensive tests in her entire village. It is also confirmed that she had been to a fair and stayed at a ‘dharamshala’ in Mathura. The staffers there will also be tested,” said Mathura Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Sharad Tyagi.
Agra District Magistrate Prabhu Narain Singh said seven positive samples from the SN Medical College lab were sent to KGMU for testing since the government has ordered the genome sequencing of 10 per cent positive samples from all test labs.
“As per the KGMU report, three of the samples were found to be of South African strain and one of the New Mutated Strain. Report of three other samples is pending,” he added.
The magistrate confirmed that the authorities did not find any evidence of the patients or someone close to them travelling South Africa.
The mutations in these two variants make them more likely to escape the immune system. As a result, health officials are apprehensive that current vaccines may be comparatively less effective against them. Scientists are still investigating the efficacy of vaccines against these strains.
Meanwhile, for the second straight day, new positive Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh crossed the 1,000-mark. With 1,061 people testing positive for the virus in 24 hours, the total infection count has reached 6,12,403.
Lucknow remains the worst affected district with 273 new cases and 1,858 patients. The Capital also remains the worst affected in terms of fatalities, with 1,202 patients having died here since the pandemic started. With four deaths reported on Saturday, the statewide toll rose to 8,783. Six more districts have more than 200 active cases. They are Kanpur Nagar, Prayagraj, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Varanasi and Meerut.
With festivals coming up, the state government recently said processions cannot be organised without the permission of the administration. If permission is granted, people at the processions will have to follow the basic Covid protocols such as social distancing, wearing face masks and using sanitisers. Those older than 60 years or below 10 years, and those with co-morbidities, will not be allowed to participate in any such gathering.
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