New covid double mutant variant identified in 18 states in India: Govt

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 24, 2021 1:52:11 pm

TMC healthcare staff collect swabs at a school in Thane (Express photo by Deepak Joshi)

A new “double mutant variant” of the coronavirus has been detected in 18 states in the country in addition to many other strains or variants of concern (VOCs) which have also found abroad, the Health Ministry said today.

“Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish or direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states. Genomic sequencing and epidemiological studies are continuing to further analyse the situation,” the ministry said in its press release today.

“Since INSACOG initiated its work, 771 variants of concerns (VOCs) have been detected in a total of 10787 positive samples shared by States/UTs. These include 736 samples positive for viruses of the UK (B.1.1.7) lineage. 34 samples were found positive for viruses of the South African (B.1.351) lineage. 1 sample was found positive for viruses of the Brazilian (P.1) lineage. The samples with these VOCs have been identified in 18 States of the country,” the health ministry said today.

India on Wednesday reported 47,262 fresh covid cases and 275 deaths — the highest casualties recorded in 132 days. The active caseload registered an increase for the 14th day in a row and was recorded at 3.6 lakh.

With several states witnessing a second wave of surge in Covid-19 cases, the governments of the affected states are mulling to impose lockdown in some areas. While some states have already announced Covid-related restrictions and night curfews in affected districts, states such as Punjab and Maharashtra are considering if a complete lockdown would be required in affected areas to bring down the current case surge.

Today also marks a year of India’s coronavirus lockdown. India went in for the strict lockdown when just about 525 positive cases had been detected. But the epidemic was already threatening to spread in an exponential manner. The number of cases had crossed 100 on March 15, 2020, and 1,000 on March 29.

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