Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) : The Health & Family Welfare Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu on Thursday directed all the Civil Surgeons to ensure tracing, surveillance and testing as per recent SOP of International passengers arrived from UK within two days.
Mr. Sidhu said that list of 1822 international passengers who arrived from UK at Delhi Airport to Punjab has been received, today and it has been already shared with all the districts. He said that a total of 1550 UK passengers arrived at Shri Guru Ramdas Airport, Amritsar but details of only 709 passengers were received from the Airport authority while details of 841 passengers were awaited for further action.
He informed that of the 262 travelers, who arrived from UK on 21st -23rd December, 2020 were kept under observation and 8 of them reported corona positive and admitted at Fortis Hospital, Amritsar. Samples of these 8 positive patients will be sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune in the context of new variant SARS-CoV-2 virus detected in United Kingdom.
Mr. Sidhu divulged that 216 contacts of passengers in flight who arrived from UK were also identified and traced and they are being put under quarantine. Tracing of remained contacts is being carried out on war footing so as to ensure the safety of people in Punjab.
He said that Civil Surgeons were also instructed to submit the report of all passengers to State headquarter by December 27, 2020. Instructions have already been issued to all Deputy Commissioners and Civil Surgeons regarding surveillance and testing of passengers travelling from or transiting through United Kingdom.
Notably, a new variant of SARS- COV 2 virus [Variant Under Investigation (VUI)-20212/01] has been reported by the Government of United Kingdom (UK) to World Health Organization (WHO). This variant is estimated by European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) to be more transmissible and affecting younger population. This variant is defines by a set of 17 changes or mutations. One of the most significant is an N 501Y mutation in the spike of protein that the virus uses to blind to the human ACE2 receptor. Changes in this part of the spike protein may result in the virus becoming more infectious and spreading more easily between people.