Amid Concerns over Mutated Infection, UK Returnee Tests COVID-19 Positive in Odisha

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A 34-year-old United Kingdom returnee has tested positive for COVID-19 and hospitalised in the state capital, officials said on Wednesday.

The man returned to the state on December 18 amid concerns over the detection of a mutated and more infectious strain of COVID-19 in the European country, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner P C Chaudhury said.

“The man tested positive in a private laboratory. He was shifted to a government-sponsored COVID hospital,” a BMC communication said, adding that he has mild flu-like symptoms.

“Confirmatory test on Spike Genome Sequencing is being conducted through RMRC (regional medical research centre of IMRC), Bhubaneswar to ascertain the COVID strain,” the official said.

He, however, said that there is nothing to panic, and it is just a precautionary measure due to detection of the mutated strain of the virus in the UK. Meanwhile, the BMC has completed contact-tracing and all his family members will also undergo COVID-19 tests, Chaudhury said.

The authorities of Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIAP) here have asked all airline operators to share details about passengers, who have recently returned from foreign countries, airport executive director Goutam Ray told PTI.

Passengers with travel history to the UK will have to undergo screening at a special kiosk set up by the BMC at the airport terminal.

“We have made the RT-PCR COVID-19 test mandatory for passengers of 55 years and above with co-morbidities,” Ray said.

The Centre said on Monday that all UK-India flights will be suspended from December 23 to December 31 in view of the emergence of a new coronavirus strain in that country.