Four UK returnees detected with mutated UK-type Covid variant in Gujarat

Contacts of the four passengers have been traced, including the passengers seated in their vicinity on the flight.

Four persons who recently returned to Gujarat from the United Kingdom (UK) have tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus — a fast-spreading variant of SARS-CoV-2, the state health department said Saturday. The four passengers have been admitted to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-run SVP Hospital in Ahmedabad, officials said.

Gujarat health commissioner Jai Prakash Shivahare said, “As per the test reports from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, which arrived today (Saturday), the four patients are infected with the mutant Covid-19 strain. All four are admitted at SVP Hospital and are under continuous monitoring in a separate ward and are doing fine.”

The four passengers, Shivahare said, had returned from the UK on the same flight on December 22 and are from different parts of Gujarat.

“As per the central government’s guidelines, these four patients were taken to SVP Hospital and kept in a separate isolation ward right from the first day. All the passengers returning from the UK were retained at the airport till their RT-PCR reports arrived and all those who tested positive were immediately sent to the SVP Hospital,” Shivahare said.

Contacts of the four passengers have been traced, including the passengers seated in their vicinity on the flight. “All those sitting in the surrounding rows are being monitored. The government will share noteworthy details as and when these are confirmed,” the health commissioner added.

Sources in the health department also revealed that nearly a dozen genome mapping test reports from NIV Pune were pending. These are cases with travel history to the UK in the last month that have been tested positive. All these samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune and Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) in Gandhinagar.

The state government had earlier issued a directive that all passengers, who had returned from European nations between November 25 and December 8 would have to undergo self-monitoring whereas those who returned between December 8 and 23 have to stay in isolation.

India suspended flights to and from the UK from December 23 in view of the rapid spread of the new viral strain, that was first detected there in September.

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