Nine more people who returned to Telangana from the UK in the last two weeks have been tested positive for Covid-19, taking the total number of the UK returnees infected with the virus to 16. Their samples are preserved and sent to CSIR-Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB) for examining their genome sequencing.
Till now, 962 out of 1200 people returned to the state since December 9, 2020, have been identified, Telangana Health department said. Out of the identified people tested for Covid-19, 16 tested positive.
Among the positive cases, four each are from Hyderabad and Medchal-Malkajgiri districts. Two are from Jagtial, and one each from Mancherial, Nalgonda, Rangareddy, Sangareddy, Siddipet, and Warangal urban districts. All 16 persons are put up in special wards, as per the latest guidelines of the government of India, in different hospitals.
The Health Department is on a high alert in the wake of growing concerns over the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus in certain countries. The department has activated its surveillance teams for tracing and testing those who have returned from or via the UK to prevent the spread of the virus. Their health condition is continuously monitored.
Apart from the 16 who tested positive, another 76 people in close contact with the positive patients have been kept under quarantine. The results of their samples sent to CCMB is expected in two days, said Dr. G Sreenivasa Rao, the director of Public Health, Telangana.
The department has appealed to people who have travelled from or via the UK after December 9 to voluntarily share their details by calling up 040-24651119 or by texting on WhatsApp to 9154170960. Staff from the health department will visit their homes to conduct health check-ups.
Rao also said that people need not panic over the new variant of the virus but should stay alert and follow all safety protocols such as wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, and ensuring personal hygiene as before.