New Delhi: As new Delta Plus Variant was detected in multiple cities across the country, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday urged eight states and union territories to intensify containment measures including preventing crowds, conducting widespread testing as well as increasing vaccine coverage on a priority basis in districts where the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus has been detected.Also Read - 7 Aborted Fetuses Stuffed In Bottles Found Floating In Drain In Karnataka's Belagavi; FIR Lodged

Addressing a press conference earlier in the day, the measures were suggested by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter to Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Haryana. Also Read - Tamil Nadu, TN 10th 12th Supplementary Exam 2022 Application Date Out | Direct Link Here

The Central government also urged the states to ensure that adequate samples of people who test positive for COVID-19 are promptly sent to the designated laboratories of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be established. Also Read - Ikea's Purchase Office In Delhi-NCR To Shutdown. Here's Why

The Health Ministry also added that the Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in Tirupati district in Andhra Pradesh, Surat in Gujarat, Faridabad in Haryana, Katra in Jammu and Kashmir, Bikaner in Rajasthan, Patiala and Ludhiana in Punjab, Mysuru in Karnataka, Chennai, Madurai and Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.

“You are aware that INSACOG is a consortium of laboratories for whole genome sequencing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. INSACOG is tasked with not just the whole genome sequencing but also giving timely inputs on appropriate public health response in specific geographies where variants have been found,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

“It has been intimated by INSACOG that the Delta Plus variant, which is currently a variant of concern (VOC), has the following characteristics — increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response,” he added.

The health ministry also stressed the public health response in this case, while broadly remaining the same, has to become more focused and stringent.

“You are also requested to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are sent to the designated laboratories of INSACOG promptly so that the clinical epidemiological correlations can be established,” he said.

The Central government earlier in the day said 51 cases of the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus have been found in 45,000 samples sequenced so far in the country with Maharashtra reporting the highest number of 22.

(With inputs from PTI)