New Delhi: Amid threat of a new coronavirus variant, nearly 300 samples taken from people who had tested positive for COVID-19 in Delhi recently have been sent for genome sequencing, official sources said on Friday.
The sequencing is to be done essentially to find if any new variant, like XE, has circulated in the city or not, amid a spike in daily cases in the last few days.
Delhi on Friday recorded 366 new COVID-19 cases and zero death, while the positivity rate rose to 3.95 per cent, according to data shared by the state health department.
About 300 samples taken from people who had tested positive for COVID-19 in Delhi a couple of days ago, have been sent for genome sequencing, the sources said.
The sequencing will take about 7-10 days to process, they said.
As flights are operational and people are intermingling, there is always a “chance” that a variant could end up circulating in a city, even from a far off place, where they might have been detected earlier, the sources said.
The WHO has issued a warning against XE, a new variant of Omicron first detected in the UK, and suggested that it could be more transmissible than any COVID-19 strain so far.
The XE variant is a combination or recombinant of both sub-variants BA.1 and BA.2 of Omicron.
Gujarat had reported its first XE variant case after a man from Mumbai tested positive for COVID-19 during his visit to Vadodara, a state official had recently said.
Before this, Mumbai civic body officials had said that a woman who had arrived from South Africa in the end of February and tested positive in March was infected by the XE variant, but the health ministry had not agreed.
The ministry had said that present evidence did not indicate that it was a case of the XE variant.
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases and the positivity rate in the national capital have seen an upward trend in the last few days.
Delhi on Wednesday had logged 299 COVID-19 cases, while the positivity rate had stood at 2.49 per cent, while no death was reported due to the viral infection.
With 366 new cases on Friday, the national capital’s overall Covid tally has increased to 18,67,572 while the death toll stands at 26,158.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on April 11 had said that the Delhi government is keeping a watchful eye over the COVID-19 situation and there is no reason to worry until a new variant of concern is detected.
Everyday a new variant is getting generated as the virus is mutating,” he had told reporters.