None of the 21 Covid patients infected with the new Delta-plus variant in Maharashtra were vaccinated. Three out of these patients were under 18 and were not eligible for vaccination.
We were still gathering information of patients, who are spread across the state, but preliminary information indicates most were not vaccinated, Dr Pradeep Awate, who heads the epidemiology cell of the state government’s public health department told Times of India.
The Uddhav Thackrey-led state government has decided to ramp up the vaccination drive, especially in these five districts. N Ramaswami, commissioner of state National Health Mission told The Times of India that areas, where the Delta-plus variant was found, were being monitored closely. “We have increased Covid-19 tests and vaccination in these areas,’’ he said.
As of now, the Delta-Plus variant was first detected in nine Covid-positive samples from Ratnagiri, seven from Jalgaon, two from Mumbai, and one each from Thane, Palghar, and Sindhudurg districts.
On Friday, one of the patients from Ratnagiri, an 80-year-old woman died at Ratnagiri Civil Hospital. She was reportedly admitted to a Covid-19 care centre on June 1 and was later transferred to the civil hospital.
However, the health department is trying to understand how these 21 could have got infected with the Delta-plus virus. “Most of those affected in Ratnagiri are from a farming background with no international travel. They have not even travelled outside the district,’’ said Dr Phule.
The central health ministry said there are 48 cases of Delta-plus variant and results of more samples sent for gene sequencing are awaited. Experts said it can escape antibodies and has high transmissibility, making it a variant of concern.