December5 , 2021

“Serious Implications”: Centre Calls For Tighter Screening For New Strain



India has known as for stricter screening and testing in response to the brand new pressure. (File)

New Delhi:

India on Thursday known as for rigorous screening and testing of fliers coming from South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana the place a brand new variant of COVID-19 has been discovered with a number of mutations which have led to a surge in infections.

In a letter to states and union territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan requested them to make sure that samples of travellers turning optimistic are despatched to designated genome sequencing laboratories promptly. The contacts of those worldwide travellers should even be carefully tracked and examined as per Health Ministry pointers, he mentioned.

“lt has now been reported by NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control) that multiple cases of a COVID-19 variant 8.1.1529 have been reported in Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6 cases) and Honk Kong (1 case). This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel,” the letter learn.

“lt is therefore imperative that all international travellers travelling from and transiting through these countries, (they are part of the “in danger” Country Category of international travellers coming to India) and also including all other ‘at risk’ countries indicated in the revised Guidelines for international Arrivals issued by this Ministry dated 11.11.2021, are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per MoHFW Guidelines. The contacts of these international travellers must also be closely tracked and tested as per MoHFW guidelines,” it mentioned.

The new variant of COVID-19, feared to have a excessive quantity of spike mutations unseen earlier than, has been detected in South Africa and different counties, with authorities there confirming 22 optimistic circumstances related to it on Thursday. The variety of each day infections in Africa’s hardest-hit nation has elevated tenfold for the reason that begin of the month.

A virologist at Imperial College London, Dr Tom Peacock, had posted particulars of the brand new variant classed as B.1.1.529 on his Twitter account earlier this week, following which scientists have been weighing in on what’s being thought-about a variant of concern although it’s but to be formally categorised within the UK.

Scientists around the globe will likely be watching the brand new variant for indicators of gaining momentum or spreading extra broadly and quickly. The excessive variety of spike mutations are regarding from the viewpoint of each larger transmissibility and immune evasion.

The WHO mentioned it’s “closely monitoring” the reported variant and is predicted to convene a technical assembly on Friday to find out if it needs to be designated a variant of “interest” or of “concern”.