India / 5 on flight from UK, where new COVID-19 strain has been found, test +ve in Delhi

Zoom News : Dec 22, 2020, 02:28 PM
New Delhi: Amid the discovery of a new and more infectious coronavirus strain in the UK, five people out of 266 passengers and crew members of a flight have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in India. The flight arrived at the Delhi airport from London on Monday night, according to reports.

Speaking to news agency ANI, the Nodal officer for Covid-19 said that their samples have been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for research and they have been sent to a care centre.

However, India has not yet detected the new strain of coronavirus that has spread to some parts of the UK. Virology experts who have been performing genome sequencing have confirmed saying that they have not come across this particular strain as of now.

The government on Monday announced that it has temporarily banned flights from the UK to India after the emergence of a new and highly infectious strain of the coronavirus in Britain.

The suspension of flights from the UK will come into effect from Tuesday midnight and will continue till 31 December, the government added.

All the passengers arriving in India from the UK till Tuesday will have to get themselves tested.

Taking to Twitter, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said, "Considering the prevailing situation in the UK, Indian govt has decided that all flights originating from the UK to India shall be temporarily suspended till 11:59 pm, 31st December. This suspension to start w.e.f. 11.59 pm, 22nd December."

New Covid strain is 70% more transmissible

The new Covid-19 strain is feared to be more infective and could 70% more transmissible, experts in the UK noted, prompting more than 40 nations – including India – to suspend flight operations.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the fast-moving new variant of the virus, which is 70% more transmissible than existing strains, appeared to be driving the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England in recent weeks.

However, he stressed on the fact that "there's no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness," or that vaccines will be less effective against it.

Meanwhile, nations across the world have shut their borders to Britain amid fears of a highly infectious new Covid-19 strain, causing travel chaos and raising the prospect of food shortages.

Countries including India, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Jordan, France, Hong Kong and others have suspended travel for the UK after Johnson said a mutated variant of the virus had been identified in the country.