Kerala health minister K K Shailaja confirms mutant coronavirus in state

Kozhikode: Kerala’s Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on Saturday said that research studies conducted in the state have shown that the coronavirus has undergone mutation.  She said the cases of a mutant strain of the coronavirus have been identified in Kerala, however, it is not yet confirmed if the variant is the same as the variant found in the UK.

“We have noticed some variation in the virus here also. But it is too early to say if this was similar to the UK strain that showed increased transmissibility. Experts are conducting a detailed study on this,” she said. 

She informed that the research was based in Kozhikode.

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In the past week, eight UK returned passengers tested COVID positive in Kerala. Regarding those arrivals, the minister had said that the health authorities are yet to confirm if the passengers have the new mutated UK variant. However, she said that their samples have been sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing.

Additionally, she rebuffed claims that there is a fresh surge of cases and the rise of the death rate in the state. She said, “These reports are not true. Due to the local body elections, there was a slight increase in cases and we expected it. The state’s death rate is still below 0.5 per cent.”

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The UK variant which had first emerged in the south of England had been found to be 70% more transmissible than the original virus and had resulted in a spike of cases there, with millions of UK citizens going into lockdown in the wake of Christmas.

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