UP takes steps to keep Covid's new strain at bay as old strain claims 13 lives

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Lucknow, Dec 27 (PTI) With 13 more people dying of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the disease fatality toll rose to 8,306 in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday while the total number of cases reached 5,81,980 with 959 more people being found infected.

Meanwhile, the discovery of new strain B-117 of coronavirus in the UK and elsewhere has led the Uttar Pradesh government to issue a stringent set of SOPs requiring mandatory RT-PCR tests for travellers coming from England and their isolation in institutional facilities on being found positive.

In a meeting to review the Covid-19 situation, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the tracing of all people coming from UK, France and other countries and subjecting them to RTPCR tests and quarantine till their results are available, the government said in a statement.

The CM also ordered full-capacity RTPCR and rapid antigen tests and procurement of new testing equipment because of the discovery of the new strain of the deadly virus, the statement added.

Of the 13 COVID-19 deaths in the state, three were reported from Lucknow and two from Varanasi, the government said in statement earlier.

Of the 959 new cases, 199 were reported from Lucknow, it added.

In the past 24 hours, 1,391 Covid-19 patients recovered from the viral disease and were discharged, the statement added.

So far, 5,58,303 Covid-19 patents have been cured and discharged with the number of active Covid-19 cases standing at 15,371 in the state, the statement said.

In the last 24 hours, over 1.42 lakh samples were tested for Covid-19, taking the total number of tests in the state to 2.33 crore, it added.

Meanwhile, a Merchant Navy captain, who returned home to Bareilly after visiting the US and the UK, has been put under isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, officials said on Sunday.

Bareilly Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Vineet Shukla said the ship captain's sample has been sent to the CSIR laboratory in Delhi for testing for the new strain B-117 of coronavirus.

'Of the 18 people who have been traced to Bareilly after returning from abroad, only the ship captain tested positive,' he said.

The CMO said the 23-year-old captain, a resident of Civil Lines in Bareilly, had gone to the US in November and while returning from there, his ship had docked in London for nearly three hours.

After returning to India, the captain was found negative in an antigen test, said Shukla, adding he stayed in quarantine in Delhi for seven days.

The district state Health Department officials, however, said it does not have any information regarding the departure of the captain from India or his arrival in the country. They said the mobile phones of the captain and his wife were found switched off.

The CMO, however, said that 'on November 29, the captain came to Bareilly and spent some days with his family, and then went to Lucknow to attend a wedding. For the past 10 days, he has been staying in Bareilly with his family'.

'Following government directives to send samples of people who have returned from abroad for testing, his sample was sent to IVRI (Indian Veterinary Research Institute), Bareilly. The captain tested positive for COVID-19 on late Saturday night,' CMO Shukla said.

'He is under isolation in the international traveller ward of 300-bed COVID-19 hospital,' the CMO added.

The captain's sample has been preserved at IVRI, the CM said, adding that his wife has tested negative for Covid-19.

Bareilly's Covid-19 surveillance in-charge, Dr Ranjan Gautam said, 'Of the 18 people, whose samples were taken for testing, only the Merchant Navy captain tested positive, while reports of the remaining came out negative. Those who have tested negative are under monitoring so that their sample can be taken if required.' PTI NAV/CORR RAX RAX