Chennai man tests positive for new strain of coronavirus – The New Indian Express

Chennai News

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A Chennai resident, who returned from the United Kingdom, on Tuesday was found to be among the six in India to have tested positive for the new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 which causes Covid-19.

The new strain, called B.1.1.7, of the coronavirus, was recently identified in the UK and is suspected to be much more transmissible than the original strain. 

Announcing the development to the press, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said that the man is being treated in a separate wing at the King Institute hospital in Guindy. “The report of the genome sequencing of the man’s sample was confirmed to the State by the Union Government,” he said. The health secretary added that 15 of the man’s contacts were tested for Covid-19 and they all tested negative. 

Meanwhile, according to the media bulletin issued by the Directorate of Public Health on Tuesday evening, six more people who returned from the UK have tested positive for Covid-19, taking the total number of UK returnees testing positive for the infection to 19. So far 16 contacts of UK returnees have also tested positive. 

The samples of all UK returnees who test positive for Covid will be sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for genome analysis as per the Union Government’s instructions, Radhakrishnan said. According to the health secretary, the health departed has traced and tested 1,549 UK returnees so far.

Of them 1,432 tested negative. As many as 531 passengers to TN from the UK are yet to be traced. Most of these passengers are from Chennai and Chengalpattu districts, he said, adding that there was no cause for concern. “They would have entered the country after testing negative by RT-PCR 96 hours before their arrival here and would have been under home quarantine,” he said.  

As to the treatment protocol for the new strain, Radhakrishnan said that the National Task Force had asked States to continue with the Covid treatment protocol already being followed. “The Union Government has instructed States to conduct RT-PCR tests for all UK returnees, which Tamil Nadu was already doing for all,” he added.

However, there is no need to panic about the new strain, Radhakrishnan assured, urging people to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing norms.

He added that action, under the Public Health Act, will be taken against violators, including marriage halls, that don’t follow standard operating procedures.

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