New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the fresh spike in COVID-19 cases and fears of another wave of coronavirus, the Health Ministry on Wednesday said that a new "double mutant variant" of the coronavirus has been detected in 18 states in the country in addition to many other strains or variants of concern (VOCs) which have also found abroad. 

"Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some States," the Ministry said in a statement.

Out of 10,787 samples subjected to genome testing (a testing process to understand the complete genetics of an organism) by the government consortium of ten national laboratories, the British variant has been reported in 736 samples, the South African strain in 34 people and the Brazil variant in one. 

Genome testing was performed on samples of arriving international travelers, contacts of those who tested positive for the new strains and community samples from most of the states where these 10 labs are situated.  

India has recorded 47,262 fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day rise so far this year, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,17,34,058. Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu account for over 80 per cent of the new COVID-19 cases.

The Centre on Tuesday issued fresh COVID-19 guidelines amid the spike in cases and asked all states and union territories to enhance proportion of RT-PCR tests, strictly enforce test-track-treat protocol and speed up the pace of vaccination to cover all priority groups.

The MHA said keeping in view the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, the new positive cases, detected as a result of intensive testing, need to be isolated or quarantined at the earliest and provided timely treatment.

Delhi, Mumbai and few other states have banned public celebrations on occasions of Holi, Navratri and Shab-e-Barat in wake of the spike in cases. Meanwhile, several states have announced restrictions like partial lockdown and night curfews in various cities to curb the spread of the virus. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta