Amid rising concerns over a new variant of the coronavirus discovered in the United Kingdom, the Delhi government on Tuesday announced that it will check the health conditions of passengers who have arrived to the national capital from the country. The Delhi government will visit their houses to do so.
State Health Minister Satyendar Jain said all passengers arriving from the UK are now being tested for Covid-19 at the Delhi airport.
“The Delhi government is on alert in the wake of a mutated coronavirus strain detected in the UK. The situation is being closely monitored and mandatory tests are being conducted at the Delhi airport for all passengers arriving from that country,” he told reporters.
Jain said that the Delhi administration has fought difficult battles against Covid-19 and all efforts will be made so that the improvement made in curbing the pandemic is “not reversed”.
The Civil Aviation Ministry on Monday suspended all flights from the UK to India and vice versa from Wednesday till December 31 owing to the newly detected strain of the virus.
“In the last two weeks, about 6000-7000 people have landed at Delhi airport, many of whom would have travelled to other places like Punjab from thereon,” Jain said.
“We will go house-to-house and do check-up of passengers to assess their condition, and also advise them to isolate themselves for some time,” he added.
According to sources, passengers coming to India from the UK are undergoing RT-PCR tests at the airport. If someone tests negative but has symptoms, they will be subjected to institutional isolation. Those testing negative will also be advised to go to self-isolation for seven days, they said.
Jain has also urged those who have recently come from the UK to monitor their health and go for tests at the slightest of Covid-like symptoms, and inform the government.
Asked about the threat of the new virus strain entering Delhi, he said, “CM Kejriwal had appealed to the Centre to close flights from the UK, and it had been done. So, we are doing everything possible to contain the spread”.
“A new vaccine is being prepared to treat Covid-19,” he said.
Asked if the new strain could negate its efficacy, he said, “Only scientists and ICMR can comment on it.”
Delhi recorded 803 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Monday, the lowest since August 17, taking tally to over 6.17 lakh, even as the death toll increased to 10,304 with 27 new fatalities.
“We recorded such a low number of cases and a positivity rate of 1.29 per cent,” Jain said.