A total of 20 people who returned to India from the United Kingdom have tested positive for the new coronavirus variant so far.
On December 29, the Centre said that six UK returnees have been found to be positive with the new UK variant genome.
The samples of all passengers who tested positive after flying from the UK are being sent to laboratories for genome sequencing. Flights from the UK were banned from December 23 till December 31.
“All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated Health Care facilities by respective State Governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on,” the Union Health ministry said in an official statement.
The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the States for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to INSACOG labs, said the ministry.
There is no evidence to suggest that current vaccines will fail to protect against the SARS-CoV-2 mutants reported from the UK or South Africa, the government said.
The new SARS-CoV-2 variant could be as much as 70 percent more transmissible, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. However, it is not yet known if the mutation causes a more severe version of the disease.
The presence of the new UK variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore, so far.