At least eight people have been found infected with the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus in Indian state Madhya Pradesh so far, state Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said on Saturday, adding none of the contacts of these patients was found to be infected with this strain.
According to officials, two people who died in May this year were found to be infected with the Delta Plus variant.
Sarang told media that the patients infected with the Delta Plus variant are being tested as per protocol and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been regularly sharing information with the state in this regard.
“At least eight cases of the Delta Plus variant have been brought to our notice so far. Our constant focus is to ramp up testing,” Sarang said.
The authorities had carried out contact tracing of these patients and none of the contacts was found to be infected with this variant, he said.
The minister said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has decided to set up a laboratory in Bhopal for genome sequencing so that people infected with different mutations of coronavirus can be detected at the earliest.
Once a genome sequencing machine is installed in Bhopal, the test reports for various mutations of coronavirus can be received within five days, he said.
Meanwhile, officials said two people who died in May this year were found to be infected with the Delta Plus variant. They were residents of Ashoknagar and Ujjain.
While the deaths had occurred in May, their reports of being infected with Delta Plus variant were received later, it was stated.
The Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) of Ashoknagar Himanshu Sharma on Saturday told PTI that the person found infected with the Delta Plus variant was being treated in Bhopal after testing positive for coronavirus in May, and had died on May 13.
A couple of days earlier, it was found during a random genome sequencing test that he had been infected with the Delta Plus variant, he said.
Earlier on Friday, Ujjain Collector Ashish Singh had confirmed that a 59-year-old woman, who died of COVID-19 on May 23, was infected with the Delta Plus variant. She had tested positive for coronavirus on May 17.
Madhya Pradesh on Friday recorded 50 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 casualties that pushed the tally of infections to 7,89,611 and took the toll to 8,871, as per the state Health department.
VIRUS REACHES HAWAII: Health officials anticipate that a highly transmissible variant of COVID-19 could become the dominant strain in the state within a month or so.
The state Department of Health on Friday announced that nine additional cases of COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant were identified this week by the State Laboratories Division, bringing the total number of cases caused by the strain to 13.
After causing widespread mayhem in India for almost two months, the Delta variant is now spreading rapidly in several other countries around the world.
The highly transmissible variant, first identified in India in late-2020, is behind the fresh surge being reported in countries like the UK, Israel, Russia and Australia.
While vaccination campaigns have helped bring down infections in numerous countries, mostly wealthy, the rise of the Delta variant (also known as B.1.617.2) has led to fears of new waves of a virus that has already killed nearly 3.9 million people.
After India, UK has reported the second highest number of Delta cases so far.
In the last week, Britain reported 35,204 new cases of the Delta coronavirus variant, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 111,157, Public Health England said on Friday.
The highly contagious delta variant is the fastest and fittest coronavirus strain yet, and it will “pick off” the most vulnerable people, especially in places with low vaccination rates, World Health Organisation officials warned.
Delta has the potential “to be more lethal because it’s more efficient in the way it transmits between humans and it will eventually find those vulnerable individuals who will become severely ill, have to be hospitalized and potentially die,” Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, said during a news conference.
Ryan said world leaders and public health officials can help defend the most vulnerable through the donation and distribution of Covid vaccines.
“We can protect those vulnerable people, those front-line workers,” Ryan said, “and the fact that we haven’t, as Director-General [Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] has said, again and again, is a catastrophic moral failure at a global level.”