358 recent UK returnees identified in Telangana

All to undergo Covid-19 tests; samples to be sent for genome sequencing

HYDERABAD: Around 358 persons who have flown in from the United Kingdom between December 15 and 21 have been identified in Telangana. Covid-19 tests will be conducted on them and those who test negative will be kept in quarantine for a week while those testing positive would be offered institutional isolation.

According to the surveillance team, their test samples will be sent to the National Institute of Virology for genome sequencing. In view of the new virus strain from UK SARS-Cov 2 – VUI-202012/01, contact tracing and containment will be carried out aggressively again.

Dr Ramesh Reddy, director of medical education, said, “Mutations are common in new viruses. If there is a new variant, it will be treated separately. So far there has not been any report on the new corona variant.”

Meanwhile, surveillance officials on the ground are back on the tracing and tracking job where they are reaching out to people who have returned from the United Kingdom.

A senior health official in the surveillance team explained, “Safety protocols followed in SARS-Cov 2 have to be followed in the new variant. There is nothing to panic and people must not stigmatize them. However, it is important that protocols of masks are followed strictly. People have given up on masks thinking that corona is gone but that is not true. Old and new variants both require one to abide by safety protocols.”

Testing at airports has been increased and surveillance will be carried out across the state too. This is to ensure that if anyone has the new strain it can be identified and treated. Controlling its spread is very important to protect everyone and for that reason testing has to be intensified. The State government has stated that they will test 55,000 persons every day.

The Health department has asked all those who have returned from the United Kingdom to voluntarily contact them on 040-24651119.

Director of Health, Dr Srinivas Rao, said that the vaccine will be available in four to five weeks. Training, cold chain and preparedness of healthcare workers for administering vaccines have been taken up. There is also a collation of data and they are confident that it will be taken up soon in Telangana State.

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