New Delhi: The new coronavirus strain that was first detected in the United Kingdom has been found in India after six UK returnees tested positive for the Britain variant-3 in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV, Pune. Also Read - Can Corona Vaccines Control New COVID Strain, Lessen Mortality? Read What AIIMS Director Says

“Between November 25 and December 23, about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from UK. All these passengers are being tracked & subjected by states/UTs to RT-PCR tests. So far only 114 have been found positive for COVID-19″, the health ministry said in a statement. Also Read - International Flights: Flying to India From Abroad? Check These New Air Travel Guidelines From Today

It informed,”Samples of 3 UK returnees have been tested & found positive for new UK strain in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two in Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad & one in National Institute of Virology, Pune. All 6 people have been kept in single room isolation. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine.” Also Read - Coronavirus Strain: Centre Issues Fresh SOPs, Makes Negative RT-PCR Test Report Must For International Travellers

“Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on”, the ministry added.

Experts had claimed the new strain of the coronavirus is more contagious and is expected to cause more deaths and hospitalisations in 2021. Besides, a study by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine had said that the variant is 56% more transmissible than other strains.

Earlier, the UK government had asserted that the new variant of coronavirus appeared to be 70 per cent more transmissible than the other identified strains of the virus.

The new variant of coronavirus is “beating all the others in transmission”, said Patrick Vallance, the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser. He had warned the new variant, which is said to be the cause for a rapid rise in infections, was becoming the dominant strain.