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14 more UK returnees test positive for new COVID strain; 20 so far

14 more UK returnees test positive for new COVID strain; 20 so far
At least 20 UK returnees have tested positive for the new coronavirus strain in India so far. On Tuesday, six people who returned from the UK were found positive for the new COVID-19 variant.
The samples of all passengers who tested positive after coming from the UK are being sent to laboratories for genome sequencing.
The samples have been sequenced in seven of the 10 designated labs across the country so far. Eight samples tested positive in NCDC, Delhi, seven in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two in CCMB, Hyderabad, one in NIV, Pune, one in IGIB, Delhi and one in NIBG, Kalyani (West Bengal).
In its efforts to curb the spread of the new COVID-19 strain which was discovered in the UK, India recently banned flights to the UK from December 23 till December 31. It is actively testing the returnees who landed before the ban.
The persons who have tested positive for the new strain are being isolated in single rooms at their designated health care facilities by the respective state governments. Their close contacts too are under quarantine.
The health ministry said on Tuesday that the situation is being watched carefully and regular advice is being issued to states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to INSACOG labs.
Meanwhile, according to a matched study by Public Health England, the new variant of the novel coronavirus does not appear to cause more severe illness than other variants.
Scientists say the new variant can spread more rapidly. It was found in England in mid-December and led to other countries imposing travel restrictions to the UK.
The new UK variant has so far been found to be present in Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.
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