Seven individuals who returned from the United Kingdom between November 25 and December 21, and one of their contacts have so far tested Covid-19 positive in Delhi, a senior government official said on Friday.
The Union government had suspended all flights from the UK on December to prevent the spread of a new strain of Covid-19 that is learnt to have emerged there, which experts fear may be more contagious.
As on Friday, the senior official said, 19 patients were admitted in the special ward in Lok Nayak Hospital that has been set up for UK returnees and their contacts who test positive for the infection.
The 19 include 11 patients who were identified from the last few flights to arrive from the UK in the national capital over Tuesday and Wednesday.
The other eight patients were traced by the district administrations through their ongoing reach-out drive, and tested positive on Wednesday and Thursday
“The eight include seven UK returnees and the father of one of the UK returnees, who is a resident of Dwarka,” said the senior official who did not wish to be identified.
While people arriving from UK on December 22 and 23 — after the government’s announcement — were directly scanned, tested and quarantined (if needed) from the airports, state governments have been entrusted with reaching out and conducting Covid-19 tests on all passengers who have arrived from UK between November 25 and December 21, even if they had previously got themselves tested on arrival.
A senior official in the revenue department said around 14,000 passengers arrived at the Delhi airport between November 25 and December 21 – of which around 1,500 are Delhi residents. District officials have initiated a reach out drive to trace them all and get them tested.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain had earlier this week told reporters that nearly 7,000 passengers flew into the city from the UK in the last two weeks.
But, senior officials later said the number of passengers who actually reside in Delhi would be much lower.
Once a UK returnee tests positives, all her /his contacts are to be tested. The contacts awaiting test results and those who test negative have to complete mandatory institutional quarantine. They can either opt for a government facility in Chhatarpur or a paid facility in hotel at Aerocity.
The Chhattarpur facility currently has around 60 individuals lodged. Most of them were people sitting in the neighbouring seats of the UK-Delhi flights from which the 11 Covid-patients were identified over Tuesday and Wednesday.