The South African variant of the coronavirus has been detected in four people in India and the Brazil variant has been found in one, the Union Health Ministry said today. All five have been quarantined, it added.
The government said there are 186 cases of UK variant in India at the moment.
In India, the South Africa strain has been detected in one flier from Angola, one from Tanzania and two from South Africa in January, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said.
All travellers and contacts have been tested and quarantined. “The ICMR-NIV is attempting to isolate and culture the SA variant strain from the samples of these four individual returnees,” he said.
One Brazil returnee has tested positive for the Brazil variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the first week of February. The traveller and contacts have been tested and quarantined.
As many as 87,40,595 beneficiaries have been vaccinated against the coronavirus in two phases. While 85,69,917 people have received the first dose of the vaccine, while the second dose has been given to 1,70,678 beneficiaries, the Health Ministry said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
Fourteen states have given first doses to more than 70 per cent of registered healthcare workers. These states need to be applauded and appreciated, said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
Among the poorly performing states, Delhi has vaccinated 42 per cent healthcare workers.
As far as administering the second dose to beneficiaries is concerned, Goa has completed 100% vaccination, while most other states have completed 60 per cent inoculation. Ten states have vaccinated less than 10 per cent front line workers.
The government said only two states, Kerala — 61,550 and Maharashtra — 37,383, have more than 35,000 cases and contributing to 72% of total infections in the country.
Niti Aayog member VK Paul said the cause for concern is Maharashtra. “Things can’t be taken for granted,” he said.