Odisha govt appeals to returnees from UK to cooperate to curb spread of coronavirus

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 29 (PTI) With 62 returnees from the United Kingdom untraceable since their arrival in Odisha, the state government Tuesday appealed to them to come forward and cooperate with the administration in curbing spread of coronavirus, official sources said.

Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has formed six search teams to locate them, the sources said .

Director of public health Niranjan Mishra said that majority of the returnees are in Bhubaneswar, while some have left for 18 districts of the state. Some of them could not be traced as they had given wrong telephone numbers while travelling.

There is no need for the returnees to worry. We will only study their genome sequencing if they test positive to COVID-19 as per the central governments protocol, Mishra said.

He said as many as 181 people have returned to Odisha from the UK since November 23. While 119 of the returnees could be contacted, the remaining 62 remain out of the reach.

BMC Commissioner P C Chaudhary said that the civic body had received a list of 27 travellers who had returned from the UK. Twenty of them could be contacted and their COVID-19 test was conducted. Of them, three tested positive and their swab samples were sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune, for genome sequencing to trace whether they had contracted the mutant strain.

On Monday, BMC received an additional list of around 60-70 travellers in the second phase. We have already started the process to identify, trace and verify their address, said Chaudhary adding that six teams have been formed to trace the UK returnees.

The director in the directorate of medical education and training C B K Mohanty said the transmission capacity of the new strain of coronavirus is 50-70 per cent higher than the previous one. It therefore, the new strain has the capacity to infect more people.

The new strain has similar symptoms like fever, dry cough, loss of taste, diarrhoea, headache, muscle pain and vomiting, he said.

Though six to seven persons have so far have so far been detected to be carrying the new strain in the country, its fatality rate is not alarming, Mohanty said. PTI AAM KK KK KK