Centre writes to states warning of new COVID variant, cautions against international travel

Prime News, National (New Delhi), November 26:- Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday wrote to Additional Chief Secretary (Health) of all States and UTs in the country warning them of new Covid-19 variant cases that have been reported in Botswana, South Africa, and Honk Kong.

Botswana, South Africa and Honk Kong reported three, six and one case each of the new COVID-19 variant 8.1.1529 so far.

In a letter address to additional chief secretary/principal secretary/secretary (Health) of all states and union territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked them to ensure that samples of travellers turning positive are sent to designated genome sequencing laboratories promptly.

It has now been reported by National Centra for Disease Control (NCDC) that multiple cases of a COVID-19 variant B.1.1529 have been reported in Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6 cases) and Honk Kong (1 case), Bhushan said in the letter.

“This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel.

“It is therefore imperative that all international travelers travelling from and transiting through these countries, (they are part of the “at-risk” country category of international travellers coming to India) and also including all other at risk’ countries indicated in the revised Guidelines for International Arrivals issued by this Ministry dated November 11, 2021, are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per MoHFW Guidelines,” Bhushan said.

The contacts of these international travellers must also be closely tracked and tested as per MoHFW guidelines.  (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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