THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: On Tuesday, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey told the Rajya Sabha that three new variants of COVID-19, stemming from the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants have been reported so far in India.
Regarding the total number of people who have been infected with the new strains, Choubey said in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha query that as on March 4, 2021, a total 242 samples have tested positive for different variants in India
As per World Health Organization, in the three countries where the pandemic is being driven by the variant mutants of SARS-CoV-2 virus, namely United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, the South African and Brazilian variants have the potential to reinfect persons who have been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, said Choubey to query “If the people who have been infected once could get re-infected by the new virus strain.”
However, “No case of re-infection by mutant variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus has been reported from India so far,” the minister said.
Government of India has revised its guidelines for international travel to minimize the risk of importation and further spread of these mutant variants in India after recognizing that the mutant variants of SARS-CoV-2 are driving the pandemic in countries of their origin, namely United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.
A genomic consortium of 10 regional laboratories with National Center for Disease Control as the apex laboratory has been established to perform genomic sequencing of the samples from positive travellers and 5 per cent of the positive test samples from the community. The contacts of such cases are also kept under institutional quarantine, till such time they test negative. Such international travellers who test positive are kept in special isolation ward, till such time they test negative.