“We are reporting to you today that the South African and Brazilian variant has entered in some form into our country through travellers and we already have the UK variant in our country. These variants will not cause a catastrophic situation in our country hopefully. This shows that the vigil to contain this disease must continue,” he said. He also advised that contact tracing of all positive and quarantine measures must continue. Dr Paul also urged people to not become complacent and take suitable measures against the virus.
“Today is an auspicious day, Vasant Panchami and it is also a day and this is the period for marriages particularly in north India. I would like us to be careful, that we maintain social distancing and we maintain our other precautions with equal and continuing rigour,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Balram Bhargava, DG, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) informed that the South African strain of COVID-19 has been detected in four returnees from South Africa and all travellers and their contacts have been tested and quarantined. He also informed that 187 patients with the UK variant were confirmed, who have been quarantined and tested, adding that the strain can be neutralised with India’s vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian strain of the virus has been successfully isolated and cultured at ICMR-NIV-Pune and experiments to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine against the strain are underway, said Dr Bhargava.