16 UK Returnees Test Positive for Coronavirus Since Screening Began in Maha, Samples Sent to NIV

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Sixteen persons who had recently returned from the UK and two family members of such returnees have tested positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra so far, a health official said. "Their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune to find out if they are carrying the new strain of the virus that was detected in the UK," he said.

Screening of passengers arrived from the UK began after a new variant of the coronavirus was detected in that country. Flights from the UK were barred earlier this week. As many as 1,222 passengers who had arrived in Maharashtra from the UK were tested using RT-PCR kits in the last few days and reports of 16 returned positive.

"As per protocol, we also tested 72 kin-contacts (relatives who came in contact) of these 16, and two relatives have been detected with the infection," the official said. All passengers who arrived in the state from UK between November 25 and December 23 are being screened to find out if any of them is carrying the new strain.