Total 20 UK returnees to India test positive for new Covid strain

Total 20 UK returnees to India test positive for new Covid strain

At least 20 people who have returned from the United Kingdom to India have tested positive for the new ‘more infectious’ coronavirus strain. The development comes a day after it was reported that six UK returnees tested positive for the new Covid-19 strain.

The Indian government has become alert after the new fast-spreading Covid strain was discovered in the UK. It had recently banned all flights to the UK till December 31 and decided to actively test all returnees who had arrived from the UK before the ban.

Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday that the ban on flights from the UK is likely to be extended. “I foresee a slight extension of the temporary suspension. I don’t expect that extension to be a long or indefinite extension,” Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters.

But testing people who have specifically returned from the UK may not be enough as the new Covid strain has also spread in many other countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, and Sweden.

The health ministry in India has now decided to test 5 percent of all international passengers for the new Covid-19 variant.

“This particular virus strain may have its own run- it has traveled to many countries - so we have to be very careful. Initially, it is easy to suppress the spread of the virus because the chain of transmission is smaller,” Dr. VK Paul, a member of the Niti Aayog, said.

On Monday, six people who returned tested positive for the new virus strain. Later in the evening, another two-year-old girl who had recently returned to Meerut from the UK with her family also tested positive.

While the new Covid-19 strain is believed to 70 percent more transmissible than the older strain, scientists have said it is less lethal. The new variant has also been found to affect people in the age group of 30-60 years.

However, experts have told India Today that people need to take the same precautions for the new virus strain and added that the vaccines currently in development will be effective against the new strain as well.