Centre Asks States for Strict Screening of Foreign Fliers As New Covid Variant With ‘Horrific’ Mutations Found


The Centre on Thursday demanded thorough screening of passengers coming from South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana after a new Covid-19 variant with “horrific spike profile” was detected there.

Union Well being Secretary Rajesh Bhushan despatched a letter to the states, asking them to topic fliers from these international locations to “rigorous screening and testing”.

“It has now been reported by NCDC that a number of circumstances of a Covid-19 variant B.1.1529 have been reported in Botswana (3 circumstances), South Africa (6 circumstances) and Honk Kong (1 case). This variant is reported to have a considerably excessive variety of mutations, and thus, has critical public well being implications for the nation, in view of lately relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of worldwide journey,” the letter learn.

Bhushan mentioned it’s “crucial that every one worldwide travellers travelling from and transiting by these international locations, and in addition together with all different ‘in danger’ international locations indicated within the revised Pointers for worldwide Arrivals issued by this Ministry dated 11.11.2021, are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per MoHFW Pointers”.

ALSO READ: New Covid Variant B.1.1.529 Detected in Southern Africa; Scientists Warn of its ‘Horrific Spike Profile’

“The contacts of those worldwide travellers should even be intently tracked and examined as per MoHFW pointers,” the letter added.

The brand new variant, B.1.1.529, was first noticed in Botswana. To this point, solely 10 circumstances have been confirmed by genomic sequencing. The scientists have, nevertheless, warned that this variant carries an “extraordinarily excessive quantity” of mutations which will drive additional waves of illness by evading the physique’s defences.

Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial Faculty London, posted the main points of the variant on social media on Friday, noting that the “extremely excessive quantity of spike mutations recommend this may very well be of actual concern (predicted escape from most recognized monoclonal antibodies)”.

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