New Delhi [India], December 29 (ANI): Five per cent of the coronavirus positive samples in the country would be subjected to genome sequencing, the government has said.
"There is nothing popular or unpopular about virus strains. All the inbound passengers from the UK were identified the passenger manifest or lists were shared with the states and UTs. They were advised to take samples. Most of them who came from December 21 to the midnight of December 23 were subjected to RT- PCR test at the airport itself," said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan while responding to a question if the mutant strain of COVID-19 detected from six people is the most popular one, called 'B117'.
"So roughly 30,000 odd people have been identified. Lists shared with the state, samples taken and positive samples have been then sent to this consortium for genome sequencing. Six people so far have been found to possess the coronavirus variant found in the UK," he added.
Stressing on genome sequencing, the health secretary said: "This is the ongoing process because of two reasons -- all positive UK returnees will be subject to RT- PCR test and then positive samples will be subject to the genome sequence, the second reason is that even others who are positive in the general population of the country 5 per cent of that would also be subjected to genome sequencing."
Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog said that people have to very careful with the variant of the coronavirus detected in the UK.
"The major population is still susceptible to COVID-19 infection in this cold weather. UK variant has travelled to several other countries and also to India and it shows contagiousness more than the classical virus. It poses concerns. It was expected that such mutations can take place. Six cases have come. This particular virus variant may have its own run and we have to very careful. One cannot be careless," he said.
"When a new type of virus enters, it is easy to suppress the virus in the beginning because it has a small chain of transmission and did not spread widely," he added. (ANI)