11 passengers arriving from UK test COVID positive at Delhi airport

New Delhi: Eleven passengers on four flights from the UK were found positive for COVID-19 when tested on arrival at the Delhi airport, said Gauri Agarwal, founder of the Genestrings Diagnostic Center, on Wednesday.

Genestrings is handling coronavirus testing of all passengers at the Delhi airport.

In her statement, Agarwal said 50 passengers of the aforementioned four flights have been put under institutional quarantine.

As a new coronavirus strain has emerged in the UK, the government on Monday ordered that all passengers coming from there would be tested on arrival at the Indian airports.

Since this directive, a total of four UK flights have landed in Delhi, Agarwal said.

The government on Monday said that if a passenger on UK-India flight is tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival, then passengers sitting in the same row, three rows ahead and three rows behind will also be put under institutional quarantine.

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Agarwal explained, “Testing was done comprehensively, as directed, irrespective of any existing reports or exemptions. A total of 950+ inbound passengers from London were tested at our lab at T3 terminal, IGI (Indira Gandhi International) Airport and 11 of them tested positive.”

The Civil Aviation Ministry on Monday suspended all flights connecting India and the UK from Wednesday to December 31.

Agarwal said, “These (aforementioned) 11 samples were duly stored in cold storage and sent to NCDC, Delhi for further research using genome sequencing. We do not know yet if any of these positive cases are infected with the new UK strain.”

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The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) works under the Union Health Ministry.

Passengers who test positive for COVID-19 at the airport are put under institutional quarantine by the state government.

Agarwal said that 50 passengers have been put under quarantine.

“Our understanding is that the health ministry may have given directive to ensure proper contact tracing to authorities at the airport, and hence passengers sitting in the same row or nearby rows on the flight might have been asked to be quarantined,” she added.

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