Coronavirus | Over 6,000 travellers from U.K. traced across States

Workers in personal protective equipment guide passengers arriving from United Kingdom at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on December 22, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

In line with a Health Ministry directive, several States have stepped up efforts to trace and test persons who have flown in or transited from the United Kingdom between November 25 and December 23, for a more infective version of the COVID-19 virus. Flights between India and the U.K. remain suspended till December 31.

Eleven persons, on board four flights, tested positive for COVID-19 in Delhi and are now admitted to the government-run LNJP Hospital. The Delhi government has also asked the hospital to create a separate isolation unit for passengers from the U.K. who test positive.

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Around 950 passengers from London were tested at the airport and 11 of them were found positive, according to Genestrings Lab, which conducted the testing. A further 50 people were put under quarantine. Positive samples have been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control for genome sequencing.

2,724 in Tamil Nadu

In Tamil Nadu, the Health Department tracked 2,724 arrivals from or through the U.K. on different routes to the State from November 25 to December 23.

“We found that 179 were double entries. The reconciled figure of those from the U.K. to the State is 2,724. Of this, till Wednesday, we have tracked 996 persons. We have lifted samples from 516 persons. So far, 203 samples have returned negative for COVID-19,” Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said.

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The Health Department is also monitoring 111 persons who had moved to a different district after returning. As of Thursday, only one person — a 25-year-old man who had returned from the UK by air via Delhi — had tested positive and is undergoing treatment in Chennai.

2,116 in Kerala

In Kerala, eight persons have tested positive for COVID-19, from amongst the 1,609 travellers from the UK, who reached Kerala between December 9 -23.

As part of the intensified surveillance that has been initiated in the State, health officials have traced a total of 2,116 passengers from UK who arrived in the State till December 23.

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All 1,609 passengers were tested using RT-PCR and they will be followed up for the next 14 days. Even those who tested negative will be re-tested using RT-PCR after the quarantine. Apart from the eight passengers who tested positive, their household contacts will also be tested using PCR.

“The nasopharyngeal samples from the eight persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune for genome sequencing so that we may identify the virus strain. We have also identified DBT-inStem (Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine), in Bangalore as another location where we can do genome sequencing,” the official said.

2,127 in Karnataka

A total of 1,016 of the 2,127 U.K. returnees who arrived in Karnataka from December 1 till December 22 have been tested. Out of them six have tested positive and their samples have been sent for genome sequencing.

No home isolation is allowed for passengers from the U.K. who test positive, irrespective of symptoms, till their genome sequencing is completed. Three persons have so far have tested positive and their genome sequencing results are awaited. The sequencing of the positive samples (done to ascertain if they are infected with the new strain of the virus) is likely to take at least four days.

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“Till then, those who test positive will be isolated in a separate unit in an institutional isolation facility,” Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) told The Hindu.

1,200 in Telangana

Seven persons, of a total 1,200, who had flown in to Hyderabad either directly or via U.K. since December 9, have tested positive for the coronavirus. The samples of these seven positive cases are being sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad to check whether the affected persons had the mutated U.K. strain.

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A press release later said officials were trying to trace the primary contacts of positive cases. The health status of those who tested negative was also being monitored. Out of 1,200 UK returnees, as many as 846 persons were traced and tested. Barring the seven, all others tested negative.

68 in Andhra Pradesh

A woman who returned from the UK to Rajahmundry has been kept in isolation after testing positive. Overall, information is being gathered on 68 persons who have returned to Andhra Pradesh from the U.K. The Health Department sounded an alert on the likelihood of the spread of the new viral strain on Tuesday and stressed the need for enhanced epidemiological surveillance.

The Chittoor district administration received a list of 38 passengers who came from London via New Delhi and Bengaluru on Thursday. Efforts are on to know more details about them, according to District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO) M. Penchalaiah, who said surveillance teams had been formed to trace them.

(With Bureau inputs)

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 9:14:51 PM |

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