Genomic analysis result of UK returnee's sample expected from

·4-min read

NIV next week, says TN Chennai, Dec 24 (PTI) The result of genomic analysis of a sample from a United Kingdom returnee, who tested COVID-19 positive here, could be expected next week, according to the National Institute of Virology and Tamil Nadu has requested the research facility to expedite it, a senior health official said on Thursday.

The returnee from UK, who days ago tested positive, continues to be treated at the King's Institute for Preventive Medicine and Research and he is stable and doing well, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said here.

Asked on genomic analysis result of the sample sent to the Pune based NIV, he said institute authorities have indicated that it may be expected on December 28 and Tamil Nadu has requested it to expedite availability of result.

'We are talking with them (NIV) continously. This is genomic analysis. There are several mutations which has to be studied,' he said.

The process involved in such an analysis is complex, something not seen in a routine test to detect coronavirus and hence it may consume more time, he noted.

The idea behind the test is to find out if the strain matched with the ones currently in circulation or whether it belonged to a different variant, like the one seen in the United Kingdom recently which is said to be more virulent.

As many as 2,724 passengers, who either arrived from the UK or transited via that country between November 25 and December 23 have been identified and were being monitored, he said, adding health, civic and police authorities were working in tandem in the tracing and monitoring exercise.

Barring the young man, who tested positive on his arrival from the UK and being treated with drugs including anti-virals and antibiotics at state-run King's Institute, no other foreign returnee has tested positive, the official said citing test results of international returnees received.

Samples from 15 people-who travelled along with the man in the Delhi-Chennai connecting flight on Monday- have been taken and results are awaited. Seventy others on the domestic flight have also been asked to go for COVID-19 testing, he said.

A cargo flight arrived here hours ago from Britain and nine crew members have been tested for COVID-19 and they were sent to a hotel for institutional quarantine, the official said.

The cargo has been disinfected and instructions have been given to officials to not allow anyone to access the shipment as of now and a 'decision will be taken later on the cargo' after the results of the crew are known, he said.

While inspection of airports was on across Tamil Nadu, foreign returnees are allowed only if they have RT-PCR negative certificate and were being placed in home quarantine like those who arrive from other states. All the returnees were being monitored, the health official said.

Following inspection of the airport here, cargo handlers have been instructed to use Personal Protective Equipment and officials have been asked to focus more and increase visibility of advertisements on awareness about coronavirus at the premises,Radhakrishnan said.

Though flights from Britain have halted, officials have been instructed to intensify domestic surveillance as some could have travelled elsewhere from the UK and may arrive later in Tamil Nadu, he said. They were in touch with airline operators as well to ensure foolproof monitoring.

About 38,000 passengers who arrived from countries other than the UK recently were also being monitored in Tamil Nadu.

Instructions have been given to them to approach authorities if they have any symptoms and as regards returnees from the UK, their primary contacts were also being monitored.

Three people who arrived from Delhi allegedly did not cooperate with public health authorities and they proceeded to their destinations in the state and nearby Puducherry claiming that they tested negative for the virus in the national capital.

They were, however, subsequently traced and placed under insolation, he said and appealed to passengers and the general public to cooperate with officials to effectively tackle the pandemic.

If passengers prevent authorities from carrying out their duty like testing for the contagion, a complaint would be lodged against them with the police and action initiated, Radhakrishnan warned. PTI VGN BN WELCOME BN WELCOME