Four people in Delhi have been found to have the new UK variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Wednesday. All of the four have been isolated in separate rooms in a special ward at Lok Nayak Hospital.
None of them have shown any symptom of Covid-19 and continue to be stable, authorities said.
“The viral sequencing of eight persons admitted to the hospital has been done; four were found to have the UK variant,” said a senior doctor from the hospital.
So far, the hospital has admitted 35 people to the special ward designated for isolating patients infected with the new variant of the virus. Of these, 20 have returned from the UK and the other 15 are people who have come in contact with them
The 2,000-bed Lok Nayak Hospital was designated as the nodal centre for isolation of persons who are suspected to have the new variant of the viral infection – those who have either returned from the UK between November 25 and December 21 or those who have tested positive after coming in contact with UK returnees.
The Indian government suspended flights from the United Kingdom December 23 onwards and tested those landing in India from the country two days prior to it. The measure was initiated in light of London and other parts of the United Kingdom going into a lockdown because of a fast-spreading mutated variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
The UK variant has 23 mutations, one of which is on the receptor binding domain of the spike protein that the virus uses to enter the human body. The new variant is thought to be 70% more transmissible that the previous one. Doctors and scientists have, however, not seen a high number of people with severe disease or deaths due to the new variant.