795 Cases of Mutant Covid-19 Strains Reported in India So Far: Health Ministry

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The total number of cases with the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the country has reached 795, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday as India is witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases. From 400 cases reported on March 18, the infections by mutant strains have increased to 795 in the country.

Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey told Rajya Sabha on March16that no case of reinfection by mutant variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus has been reported from India so far. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in the three countries where the pandemic is being driven by the variant mutants of SARS-CoV-2 virus, namely the UK, South Africa and Brazil, the South African and Brazilian variants have the potential to reinfect persons who have been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, he said in a written reply.

A genomic consortium of 10 regional laboratories with the National Center for Disease Control as the apex laboratory was established in December-end for laboratory and epidemiological surveillance of circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2 in the country. The UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 was first reported in India on December 29.

A total of 40,715 coronavirus infections were reported in a day, taking the nationwide COVID-19tally to 1,16,86,796, while the number of active cases registered an increased for the 13th day in a row and was recorded at3,45,377, according to Union health ministry data updated on Tuesday. In Punjab, 81 per cent of the 401 samples sent by the government for genome sequencing have tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said, asking the Centre to widen the vaccination net to cover those younger than 60.