Analysis:  New COVID-19 strain is a ‘Super Spreader’, how will it affect India? 

Know everything about the new Coronavirus strain: Don’t Panic, take precautions


 

After battling for coronavirus for more than 8 months when life was coming back on track,  the new strain of Coronavirus has been found in the UK leaving everyone anxious.  Obviously, everyone is in a panic and thinking what’s next?  Notably, a strict lockdown has been imposed in the United Kingdom. As a precautionary measure, 40 countries including India has cut off travel ties with the country. The question is – Will the ban prevent the spread of the new virus in other countries? How will it impact India? Should we panic? Well, to answer all your questions, we have tried to declutter things for you. 

 

Status on Coronavirus strain in India 

The Health Ministry of India confirmed on Tuesday that no new coronavirus strain found in the UK has been detected in India. The development came even after 20 passengers coming from the UK were found COVID-19 positive.

The Health Ministry has said that the mutated version of the COVID-19, named VUI-202012/01, was estimated by the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) to be affecting the young generation more and is more transmissible. It said, “This variant of COVID-19 is defined by a set of 17 changes or mutations. One of the most significant changes… may result in the COVID-19 becoming more infectious and spreading more easily among people.”

 

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New rules for UK passengers

After looking at the new strain of the Coronavirus, the central government and several state governments have issued new guidelines for passengers coming from the United Kingdom. The Central government made RT-PCR tests necessary on arrival, separate isolation of those who tested positive for the new variant of coronavirus and institutional quarantine for those who were seated with them. The new SOP is issued for the flyers who have travelled from or transit through the UK from November 25 to December 23.

 

State governments are in action 

Around 600 passengers landed in Mumbai from the United Kingdom on Tuesday. All of them were asymptomatic. Mumbai authorities have decided to put all passengers under mandatory institutional quarantine on the arrival, especially passengers arriving from the European countries and the Middle East.

In Chennai, a passenger who arrived from London via Delhi tested positive for the coronavirus. Genomes from his sample will be sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune to determine if he has the new variant of SARS-CoV-2. Authorities of Chennai have said that they are monitoring more than 1,000 passengers who have arrived from the UK in the past 10 days.

The Delhi government too started tracking all the UK passengers who have arrived in the city since November 25. They are going for the door to door tracking of all UK passengers. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain has said that around 7,000 people have arrived from the UK in the last 14 days. As per the central government guidelines, Delhi authorities have decided to conduct RT-PCR tests of all UK travellers who arrived in the national capital.

 

Will vaccine work on the new strain?

A fear that is haunting everyone is,  will the existing vaccines work on the new coronavirus strain which is more infectious than the earlier one?  The Indian government on Tuesday said that the mutated version of the new coronavirus would have no impact on the potential of emerging vaccines.

NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul said that we need to be more vigilant and have to counter the new challenge with comprehensive efforts. We will be safe if we are successful in suppressing the genomic sequence. He also said that the new strain might increase the transmissibility but it does not increase the propensity of hospitalization, death and severity of the disease.

BioNTech, German pharmaceutical company said that its vaccine would work against the new strain of COVID-19 found in the United Kingdom. CEO Ugur Sahin said that it is highly likely that the immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new variants of the virus. He added that the protein found in the UK variant is 99 per cent similar to the prevailing strains. But it would take at least two weeks until the experiment is done to find out the real data.

 

Goa Tourism to be affected

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant indicated that the suspension of UK flights will have an impact on the tourism sector of Goa. As per the officials of the Goa Dabolim international airport, 4 flights from the UK to Goa were cancelled on the account of the ban. The UK ranks second after Russia in the list of countries from where International tourists arrive in the Goa.

 

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