New Delhi: Another five fresh cases of the new COVID-19 strain has been detected in the nation, taking the total number of cases to 25 and all of them are in physical isolation at health facilities, said the Union Ministry of Health. Also Read - 4 Flights to/From Delhi Airport Delayed, 1 Cancelled Due to Dense Fog & Zero Visibility
Out of the new five cases, four of them have been cases found by NIV, Pune and one new case sequenced in IGIB, Delhi. Speaking on the matter, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said, “Four patients have been found to be positive for the new strain of Coronavirus in Delhi. Flights have been banned and more passengers are not arriving. We are tracing and monitoring people who have already arrived.” Also Read - Dense Fog Engulfs Delhi-NCR; Trains, Flight Operations Likely to be Affected
This new COVID strain which was first discovered in the United Kingdom in September, is said to be 70% more transmissible from the novel coronavirus disease and has prompted a wave of panic, travel bans and border closures worldwide.
Earlier on Wednesday, 14 fresh cases of the new coronavirus variant were reported and all of them have recently returned from the United Kingdom. Meanwhile on Tuesday, India recorded six cases of the new virus variant and all of them recently returned from Britain. According to a government statement, three samples in Bengaluru NIMHANS, two in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune have been detected out of all the samples tested.
Among the six UK-returnees found infected by the new strain is a 47-year-old woman who had managed to give the slip to authorities in New Delhi after returning to India on December 21 and had reached Andhra Pradesh by train before being picked up, but the state Health Commissioner stressed that none of her contacts have been found infected.
To keep a check on the situation, the temporary ban on the flights connecting to the United Kingdom could be extended beyond December 31, said Union Minister Hardeep Puri as authorities stressed the need to remain vigilant, noting that though the cases have been declining in India, they are on the rise globally and the new strain detected in the UK had spread to several countries.
At the same time, Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan as well as other experts maintained that so far it has not been found that the new variant increases the severity of the disease.
As it announced the successful completion of the two-day dry-run of vaccination exercise in four states, the government also dismissed apprehensions that the current vaccines may prove ineffective against the new strain.
“There is no evidence that current vaccines will fail to protect against COVID 19 variants reported from the UK or South Africa. Most vaccines do target the Spike protein, in which there are changes in the variants but vaccines stimulate our immune system to produce a wide range of protective antibodies,” Raghavan said.