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COVID-19 ‘Delta Plus’ variant: Centre writes to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala to take up immediate containment measures

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The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to chief secretaries of Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra, asking them to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters, where COVID-19 ‘Delta Plus’ variant has been detected, including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis.

The Delta Plus variant has been found in Bhopal and Shivpuri districts of Madhya Pradesh, Ratnagiri and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra, and Palakkad and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala.

“The Public Health Response, in this case, while broadly remaining the same, has to become more focused and stringent. Thus, you are requested to take up immediate containment measures in these districts and clusters including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis,” read the letter.

“You are requested to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are sent to the designated laboratories of INSACOG promptly so that the clinical epidemiological correlations can be made,” it said.

As many as 40 cases of Delta Plus Covid variant have been detected in India — the strain which the government has tagged as a “Variant of Concern”.

“As of now among the samples sequenced (45000+) in India, Delta plus variant — AY.1 –has been observed sporadically in Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, with around 40 cases identified so far and no significant increase in prevalence,” the Health Ministry earlier said in its statement.

These three states have been advised to strengthen surveillance and take appropriate public health measures.

Meanwhile, the Goa government has increased surveillance along the border adjoining Maharashtra in the wake of the neighbouring state reporting cases of the COVID-19 ‘Delta Plus’ variant.

INSACOG, a consortium of 28 laboratories of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has informed that the Delta Plus Variant has the following characteristics:

  • Increased transmissibility
  • Stronger binding to receptors of lung cells
  • Potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response

With inputs from ANI and PTI

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