New COVID strain: Swab samples of UK returnee in Odisha sent to Pune

Bhubaneswar: The swab samples of the COVID-19 positive person, who had recently returned to Bhubaneswar from the United Kingdom (UK), have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune to ascertain the new strain of Coronavirus, informed the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhury today.

The contact tracing activity has already been completed as per the government guidelines. The swab samples collected from three family members of the UK returnee have tested negative for COVID-19. The patient is currently undergoing special treatment for the infection, Chaudhury told media.

The presence of new mutant of Coronavirus will be detected following the test in Pune.

The BMC Commissioner appealed to residents of Bhubaneswar to follow the COVID guidelines without getting panic.

The DMET, Odisha, also opined to remain alert with strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Department of Health & Family Welfare.

“We have done contact tracing of the UK returnee and examining the new strain,” DMET Director Dr. CBK Mohanty told reporters while ruling out the possibility of COVID-19 second wave in India.

“The new strain was first detected in the UK in the month of September. The positive cases with the new strain were detected in handful of countries like Netherland and Denmark after the UK either in single or double digit. It is being examined as to how fast the strain will infect individuals,” Dr. Mohanty said.

“As it is being thought that the capacity of infection due to strain is higher, we need to be extra careful by identifying the persons with travel history of foreign countries. Even the returnees with flu like symptoms need to share their travel details with the government,” he added.

Speaking about the fresh case with travel history to the UK, ILS Director Ajay Parida said that the gene of the returnee will be tested.

“The new strain has the capacity to spread infection more than other mutants of Coronavirus. Therefore, we need to be more cautious in fight against COVID-19,” he said.

As per reports, the 34-year-old male reached Bhubaneswar from the UK on December 18, 2020. He underwent test at a private lab and his samples were found positive for COVID-19.

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