New UK coronavirus strain not witnessed in India

Due to the new rapid-spreading strain of coronavirus spotted in parts of England, India on December 22 suspended all flights to and from the United Kingdom. According to health officials, it is only a precautionary measure. As per some experts, India has only witnessed minor mutations in the virus which is not of much consequence. According to Dr Samiran Panda, head, epidemiology and communicable diseases, ICMR, India is yet to witness anything related to the UK strain. He further stated that there was no evidence of this mutation in lab samples.

Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had informed about a fast-moving new variant of the virus that is 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains. In recent weeks, the new strain is seen to be driving the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England. However, he emphasised on the fact that there was a lack of any evidence to suggest it was more lethal.

According to Shekhar Mande, Director General of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the coronavirus vaccines will be equally effective against the new mutant of the virus. He further stated that the mutation has been independently witnessed in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Apart from this, the new type can be diagnosed with the RT-PCR. However, there is a need to assess if it is good enough for the Rapid Antigen tests.

A number of European countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France, Germany, and Italy have banned flights from the UK.

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