New COVID strain: UK-Chennai passenger’s sample sent to NIV for tests

He is among the total six found positive on arrival after travelling on Air India’s London-Delhi flight

UK flight
The Centre has made RT-PCR tests mandatory for every passenger arriving from the United Kingdom| Photo: Twitter/DelhiAirport

The samples of a passenger, who tested coronavirus positive on Tuesday after arriving at the Chennai airport from the UAE via Delhi, has been sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune to check if he’s infected with the new strain of the virus found in the UK.

Confirming the development, the state’s Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told reporters in Chennai that this may not be the COVID-19 strain found in the UK, but the samples have been sent to identify the type of new strain.

He said eight passengers from among 533 coming from Delhi were tested, of which only one tested positive. Further, 15 have been kept in quarantine while the infected person has been admitted to King’s Institute, Guindy.

Related news: Explained: All we know about UK’s ‘fast-spreading’ COVID virus variant

The infected person is among the total six found positive on arrival after travelling on Air India’s London-Delhi flight which landed around 11.30 pm on Monday. He was tested in Chennai as he had taken a connecting flight to the city while the rest five tested positive in the national capital.

Radhakrishnan also advised those entering the state must undertake home quarantine, and those coming from other countries must take the RT-PCR test 96 hours before travel time after consulting a health expert.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Vijayabaskar said they have received a list of passengers who’ve arrived in Chennai from the UK via different transit points and they’re monitoring 1,088 people who have returned in the past 10 days. He said Kerala and Karnataka borders are also being monitored.

Several countries, including India, have suspended flights to and from the UK following the UK government’s warning that the new strain of the virus was “out of control”. From tonight, no flight services will operate between India and the UK till December 31, according to a government advisory.

Related news | India bans all UK flights during Dec 23-31 over new Covid strain