'358 passengers have arrived from UK;Efforts on to trace them'

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Hyderabad, Dec 22 (PTI) A total of 358 passengers had arrived in Telangana in the past one week from U.K,where a new strain of COVID-19 has been detected and efforts were on trace them,a senior health department official said here on Tuesday.

Telangana Public Health Director G Srinivas Rao said these passengers need to undergo institutional quarantine even if they test negative, while positive caseswould be treated in hospitals, based on their symptoms.

He further said no case of new strain of COVID-19 has so far been identified in the state, even as the surveillance at the airport has been stepped up.

'Seven passengers arrived here from the UK on Monday through connecting flights.

There were 358 directs passengers from December 15 to 21.

As per the Centres SoP (standard operating procedure) all international passengers arrived here from November 25 to December 23 will be under surveillance.

Information of those passengers will be shared by the Centre soon,' he told reporters at a press conference here.

He further said a dedicated phone number would be provided to passengers from the UK for assistance and to monitor their health.

According to him, as per reports, the new variant of COVID-19 has the capability of spreading faster while the mortality rate is negligible.

Hyderabad had four direct flights and seven connecting flights to the UK.

All international passenger flights connecting the U.K have been suspended from Wednesday till December 31 or till further orders in the wake of the emergence of a mutated strain of the virus there.

Rao said a vaccine for the virus is expected in four to five weeks and efforts are on to keep required infrastructure in place for the distribution of the preventive drug.

Assuring that COVID-19 cases are under control in Telangana, he said as many as 10,000 vaccine administrators have been identified and training programmes at various levels are currently undergoing.

'Cold chain system in the state is being developed to store about three crore doses.

So, as and when the vaccine is received by the state, we will immediately try to roll out the vaccination programme,' he said.

He requested people to avoid large gatherings during festivals and on New Year eve in view of dropping temperatures in the state. PTI GDK VVK APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR