New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the concerns over the new strain of coronavirus found in Britain, India on Tuesday recorded six new cases of the mutated COVID-19 strain. All six cases have been found in individuals who returned from the UK recently, the health ministry said today. The new strain of COVID-19 was first discovered in the UK and is said to be 70 per cent more infectious. 

As per the Union Health Ministry, of the six cases, three samples have been found in Bengaluru's NIMHANS, while two positive cases were found in Hyderabad's Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and one in Pune's National Institute of Virology (NIV)

All these persons have been kept in single room isolation at designated health care facilities by respective state governments and their close contacts have also been put under quarantine, the ministry said, adding that 'their close contacts have also been put under quarantine'.

"Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on. The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to INSACOG labs," it added.

According to the Union Health Ministry, between November 25 and December 23, about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected by States and Union Territories to RT-PCR tests. So far only 114 have been found positive for COVID-19.

These positive samples have been sent to 10 INSACOG labs (NIBMG Kolkata, ILS Bhubaneswar, NIV Pune, CCS Pune, CCMB Hyderabad, CDFD Hyderabad, InSTEM Bengaluru, NIMHANS Bengaluru, IGIB Delhi, NCDC Delhi) for genome sequencing.

It is important to note that the presence of the new UK Variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

The new variant is defined by multiple spike protein mutations as well as mutations in the other genomic regions. Preliminary analysis in the UK suggests that this variant is significantly more transmissible than previously circulating variants, with an estimated potential to increase the reproductive number (R) by 0.4 or greater with estimated increased transmissibility of up to 70 per cent.

Posted By: Talib Khan