(Eds: Updating with fresh info from Goa minister) Panaji, Dec 24 (PTI) Eleven passengers among those who arrived in Goa from the UK after December 9 have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said on Thursday, amid concerns over detection of a new coronavirus variant in Britain.
Talking to PTI, Rane also said that RT-PCR testing of 979 passengers, who came to Goa from the UK after December 9, is currently going on.
The state government has decided to designate the ESI Hospital in South Goa district for the purpose of keeping all the patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 after their arrival from the UK, he said.
'As per guidelines, RT-PCR testing of 979 passengers who came after December 9 is going on. Nine passengers were initially found positive for COVID-19 after their arrival from the UK, while two more subsequently approached after being symptomatic and have tested positive,' the minister said.
Samples of these patients have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for further testing, said Rane, who is in Mumbai for his health checkup.
He said it is proposed to keep these patients at the ESI hospital in Margao town of South Goa, as 'all those tested positive after arrival from the UK are supposed to be kept in separate institutional isolation'.
Meanwhile, a senior Goa health official said they would ask the state government to sanction one lakh more RT- PCR test kits to tide over any possible shortage.
'The state government has to be prepared for mass testing, if required,' he said.
Earlier, in the morning, an official from the state Directorate of Health Services said they are trying to track down 602 people who arrived in the state from the UK and the UAE since December 9.
Goa on Wednesday reported 125 new coronavirus cases, taking the count of infections in the state to 50,364.
The state has so far reported 727 deaths due to the disease, as per official figures. PTI RPS GK GK