Eight UK returnees have new COVID-19 strain in Maharashtra: Health Minister Rajesh Tope

MUMBAI: As many as eight returnees to Maharashtra from the UK have been found to be infected with the new COVID-19 variant detected in the European country, health minister Rajesh Tope said on Monday.

Of these, five are from Mumbai, he said, adding contacts of all the COVID-19 patients with the UK strain are being traced.

Out of 4,000 returnees from the UK, 43 people have tested positive for COVID-19, out of which eight have the new variant,” Tope said in a televised message, citing results of their swab samples.

“The protocol to treat them is different and they have been isolated from the other COVID-19 patients,” he said.

The new coronavirus variant found in the UK is said to 70 per cent more infectious than the first one.

Out of the eight, five are from Mumbai and one each from Pune, Thane and Mira Bhayandar.

The contact tracing of these patients is going on, Tope said.

“Asymptomatic patients have been advised 14-day strict quarantine while those with compromised immunity such as (people with) diabetes and high blood pressure, among others, 21 days of quarantine, said the state health minister. The government has decided to treat the patients with symptoms till they get cured. We need to strictly follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour such as frequently washing hands, use of masks and avoiding crowded places, Tope said.