GOI Cautions States, UTs Against Covid-19 New Variant

WITH Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium closely tracking new variant of COVID-19 and its presence yet to be detected in the country, the Federal Government has cautioned States and Union Territories against the new  COVID-19 variant following its detection in South Africa and two other countries. A new variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong that is the most mutated version of the virus yet, opine experts. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to additional chief secretaries or principal secretaries or secretaries (Health) of all states and UTs saying “multiple cases” of a COVID-19 variant B.1.1529 have been reported in the three countries. He asked all states and Union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana. ‘’But soon will be detected as we are trying our level best to trace it’’, media reported citing some officials concerned. Meanwhile,  BCCI is waiting for a report from South Africa on the outbreak of the dreaded infection before okaying Indian cricketers to play in the country. The new COVID-19 variant has led to considerable concerns about India’s tour of the Rainbow Nation next month and there could be changes in the quarantine rules for players. During a nearly seven-week assignment from December 1 7 , Indian cricketers are scheduled to play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20 Internationals across four venues –Johannesburg, Centurion, Paarl, and Cape Town. The cases are on the rise in the northern part of the country and at least two venues for the Test series — Johannesburg and Pretoria (near Centurion)- are feared to become vulnerable to the spread of the new variant. Edited by PKC.image courtesy: UNEP

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