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Kerala on High Alert as 8 from UK Found Covid-positive, Samples to be Tested for Genetic Mutation

People wearing face masks to protect from the new coronavirus as they wait for bus transport in Kochi, Kerala. (AP)

People wearing face masks to protect from the new coronavirus as they wait for bus transport in Kochi, Kerala. (AP)

The samples of these eight people have been sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune for tests on whether there is any genetic change in the strain of the coronavirus.

Kerala is on high alert as eight people who had arrived here from the UK have tested Covid positive. The samples of these eight people have been sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune for tests on whether there is any genetic change in the strain of the coronavirus.

Britain and several European countries have enforced lockdown after a new strain of Covid-19 was reported there.

State Health Minister K.K. Shailaja told media that the health department is on high alert and that the government has taken proper precautions on the same.

She said “The samples of these persons who have come from Britain and tested positive have already been sent to NIV, Pune and we are expecting the reports from the premier virology institute". She further said “If there is a change in genetic constitution of the virus it can be dangerous and we have to wait and watch and not to reduce our guard".

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The Health department is worried over slight spike in Covid cases in the state for the past couple of days and the increase in test positivity rate. After the recent local body elections, the government is expecting a slight surge in cases.

Kerala is also in festival season and shops and malls are filled with people and with the opening of tourist centres and bars there is an increase in the number of people coming out of their homes and travelling. The health department is worried whether this will again lead to a hike in the number of Covid cases.

In a related development at Pozhiyoor in Thiruvananthapuram, some 1000 people attended a DJ party on Christmas night without any Covid protocols. After it emerged as a major controversy, police swung into action and took confiscated music systems used in the party and charged several people who took part in the event. While the organisers claimed they had taken necessary permission from the police, the police denied it.

India and many other countries have barred flights from the UK since the new variant came to light.

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first published:December 26, 2020, 16:17 IST