New Virus Strain: 8 U.K. Returnees From Maharashtra Found Positive

The samples of 8 U.K. returnees from Maharashtra were found positive for the new strain of the SARS­CoV­2 virus, State Health Department officials said on Monday. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has requested the Centre to help quarantine passengers who are entering Maharashtra after landing at airports in other States.  Of the eight samples, five are from Mumbai, one from Pune, and one each from Thane and Mira Bhayandar in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. “All these patients have been isolated and their contact tracing is on,” Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.  Taking stock Following a stock­taking meeting at the Chief Minister’s official residence Varsha in Mumbai, Mr. Thackeray instructed health authorities and civic officials to be more vigilant.  He said that passengers arriving in Mumbai directly from the U.K. were being sent from the airport to institutional segregation facilities as per rules. 


However, over the last few days, it has been observed that passengers are arriving in Maharashtra by landing at airports in other States. So, it is not always possible to track them down. I urge the Central government to help in quarantining such passengers,” Mr. Thackeray said. State Surveillance Officer Dr. Pradeep Awate said 4,836 returnees from the U.K. and other European countries between November 25 and December 22 had been traced thus far, of whom 3,390 had been tested by RT­PCR and 72 had tested positive (old strain). “As many as 68 samples have been referred to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for genomic sequencing while 495 contacts of these 72 positive cases have been traced. Of them, 293 have been tested and 30 have been found positive,” Dr. Awate said. Meanwhile, in a heartening development, Maharashtra recorded a robust 10,362 recoveries as its active cases dipped below the 50,000 marks to come down to 48,801. As many as 2,765 new COVID­19 cases were reported, taking the total case tally to 19,47,011. 


Death toll nears 50,000 As many as 29 fatalities saw the death toll climbed to 49,695. The cumulative recoveries have risen to 18,47,361 while the State’s recovery rate has incrementally gone up to 94.88%.  “Of a total 1,30,04,876 laboratory samples tested thus far, 19,47,011 (with the case positivity rate down to 14.97%) have returned positive with over 46,000 samples being tested in the last 24 hours,” Dr. Awate said, adding that the State’s case-fatality marginally declined to 2.55%.  Pune district reported nearly 350 new cases to take its total case tally to 3,74,748. Two deaths saw the toll reach 7,772. As per the district administration figures, the active cases have dropped to 5,670 while the recovery rate has gone up to 96.05%. Mumbai city recorded 516 new cases to take its total infections to 2,94,986 of whom just 6,945 are active. Three fatalities saw the city’s death toll touch 11,138. 


Nagpur district in Vidarbha added over 400 new cases, taking the district’s total cases to 1,26,974 of whom 4,227 are active. Four deaths saw the toll climbed to 3,226.  In western Maharashtra, Satara reported no deaths as its toll stood at 1,770 while 99 fresh cases saw the total tally rise to 54,838 of whom only 715 are active. Neighbouring Sangli logged a mere 16 cases and no deaths as the district’s reported cases reached 50,258 of whom 381 are active. Its fatality count remains at 1,769.  Kolhapur sees no deaths Kolhapur registered an even lower surge of just 11 cases and no fatalities as its total case tally touched 48,788 of whom just 88 are active. The death toll remains constant at 1,660. In north Maharashtra, the Nashik district recorded more than 150 cases and 10 deaths as its total tally reached 1,16,198 of whom only 1,674 are active. Its death count went up to 1,918.  Jalgaon reported 41 new cases and no deaths as its total cases climbed to 56,307 of whom 493 are active, while its fatality toll remains at 1,451. 



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