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Centre Ask States for ‘Rigorous Screening’ of Overseas Fliers As New Covid Variant With ‘Horrific’ Mutations Discovered

The Centre on Thursday demanded thorough screening of passengers coming from South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana after a new Covid-19 variant with “horrific spike profile” was detected there.

Union Well being Secretary Rajesh Bhushan despatched a letter to the states, asking them to topic fliers from these international locations to “rigorous screening and testing”.

“It has now been reported by NCDC that multiple cases of a COVID-19 variant 8.1.1529 have been reported in Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6 cases) and Honk Kong (1 case). 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,” the letter learn.

Bhushan stated it’s “crucial that each one worldwide travellers travelling from and transiting by way of these international locations, and in addition together with all different ‘at risk; countries indicated in the revised Guidelines for international Arrivals issued by this Ministry dated 11.11.2021, are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per MoHFW Guidelines”.

ALSO READ: New Covid Variant B.1.1.529 Detected in Southern Africa; Scientists Warn of its ‘Horrific Spike Profile’

“The contacts of these international travellers must also be closely tracked and tested as per MoHFW guidelines,” the letter added.

The brand new variant, B.1.1.529, was first noticed in Botswana. Up to now, solely 10 circumstances have been confirmed by genomic sequencing. The scientists have, nonetheless, warned that this variant carries an “extremely high number” of mutations that will drive additional waves of illness by evading the physique’s defences.

Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial Faculty London, posted the small print of the variant on social media on Friday, noting that the “incredibly high amount of spike mutations suggest this could be of real concern (predicted escape from most known monoclonal antibodies)”.

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