6 returnees from UK test positive in India for new Coronavirus strain

Six passengers who returned from the UK have tested positive for the new strain of novel coronavirus found in the country, a statement issued by the health ministry said.

“All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by respective state governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on,” the ministry said.

About 33,000 passengers arrived from the UK at various Indian airports between November 25 and December 23. Amongst those, 114 tested positive for the virus and their samples were sent to 10 laboratories across the country for genetic sequencing.

The government has already banned all UK bound flights from December 23 to December 31 over the new Coronavirus strain.

As per government protocol, all UK returnee air passengers since November 25 have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR test. The samples of all UK returnees found positive in the RT-PCR test will be genome sequenced by a consortium of 10 government labs.

The spread of the new UK variant has already been reported by several countries in Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.