- “There is no cause for concern, no need to panic, as for now. We need to stay vigilant. The new strain or mutation of Coronavirus seen in the UK has not been seen in India, so far,” Dr. VK Paul said.
THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: The mutated strain of Covid-19 that is spreading at a much faster rate in the United Kingdom has not been seen in India so far, the government said on Tuesday. It said while the mutated strain has higher transmissibility, it does not influence the severity of the disease.
Addressing a press conference on the Covid-19 situation in India, Niti Aayog member (health) and part of the government’s special task force of Covid-19, Dr. VK Paul, said, “There is no cause for concern, no need to panic, as for now. We need to stay vigilant. The new strain or mutation of Coronavirus seen in the UK has not been seen in India, so far,” Dr. VK Paul said.
On the risk factor associated with the mutated strain of Covid-19, Dr. Paul said the mutated strain has increased transmissibility of the disease but it is not affecting the severity of the disease. “Case fatality is not affected by this mutation,” he said.
“As of now, it has no impact on the potential of the emerging vaccines being developed in our country and is available in other countries,” Dr. VK Paul said.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “This mutated strain does not increase chances of death. Case fatality and the need for hospitalization is also not affected by this mutation. The government is keeping a close watch. We have studied 1,000 viruses to check mutations and have not found such a structure in any of those in India.”
Meanwhile, taking a precautionary move, India has already suspended all passenger flights connecting to the UK from Wednesday till December 31. The decision was taken following reports of the emergence of a mutated variant of Covid-19, which experts say is spreading much faster.
On Monday, the Civil Aviation Ministry said all passengers coming from the UK through flights till Tuesday midnight would be tested for Covid-19 on arrival at airports “as a measure of abundant precaution”.
Besides India, Canada, Turkey, Belgium, Italy, and Israel have also banned flights from the UK as the British government warned that the potent new strain of the virus was “out of control”. The UK has also imposed a stringent new stay-at-home lockdown from Sunday.
Earlier in the day, a passenger returning from the UK to Chennai via New Delhi tested positive for Covid-19. Officials said genomes from his sample would be analyzed by the National Institute of Virology, Pune to see if it matched with the new strain of Covid-19 that has been detected in the UK.
The passenger, who tested positive has been admitted to Chennai’s King’s Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research.