Two Passengers from London Test Positive at Kolkata Airport, Swab Samples to Examine New Virus Strain

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Amid heightened panic over a new mutation of the coronavirus that has emerged in the United Kingdom, two passengers who arrived at the Kolkata airport from London on December 20 have tested positive for COVID-19.

Their swab samples have been sent to an ICMR-approved laboratory to examine whether they contain the new Covid-19 strain. While one of the patients was admitted at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, the other person is receiving treatment at the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute. Both the state-run hospitals have designated for specific treatment of the coronavirus.

Director of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport Kaushik Bhattacharya said, “We are already complying with the COVID-19 safety norms and we are doing RT-PCR tests on those passengers who are not carrying current reports. Those who are testing positive, are being looked after by the state health department.”

On December20, nearly 222 passengers arrived from London pf whom 25 were not carrying their RT-PCR test reports. All of them had to undergo RT-PCR tests and two of them tested positive.

The state health department is trying to get their contact history and an initiative has been taken to rope in multiple agencies across the country and abroad to alert them for self-isolation.

As a precautionary measure, the central government on December 21 issued a notification suspending all flights to and from the United Kingdom from December 23 to December 31 to prevent the highly contagious new strain of virus from spreading in India.

On December 21, a total 29,422 samples were tested of which 1,515 came positive in Bengal. The recovery and discharge (combined) figure is 2342, while the recovery rate is 95.11 per cent.

The total number of recovered cases from COVID-19 so far are 5,12,039 and total active cases are 13,094 (in home isolation), safe homes – 247, and in hospitals – 3,562.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, however, claimed that there is no need to panic as the government is alert. “All I can say is that there is nothing to panic with imaginary situations. The government is fully alert,” he said.