Hyderabad: In light of the new strain of the coronavirus that was recently detected in the United Kingdom, as many as 358 travellers who arrived in Hyderabad from the UK are being tracked and identified, G Srinivasa Rao, the state Director of Public Health said on Tuesday.
The passengers had arrived from December 15 onwards and the process to identify them has begun.
“Out of 358 travelers, 158 people have been traced out. The rest will be identified as soon as possible. As soon as they are found, tests will be conducted and they will be quarantined. Yesterday alone, seven passengers from the UK were tested and found negative. The Ministry of Public Health and Family welfare has also alerted government officials regarding the new variant of the virus,” Rao added.
He further said that as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, all the people who travelled to India from different parts of the world over the last two weeks were being tracked out and will be put under surveillance after being tested.
Rao also said that a helpline number (040-2465199) had been set up by the state government so that passengers from the UK could track themselves and appealed to people who had travelled from different countries to get tested and self-quarantine.
“This December, with Christmas, New Year and Makar Sankranti around the corner, we request all the people to follow the COVID precautions,” he said.
Similar precautions are being taken in other parts of the country, including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, Karnataka and Punjab.
The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation on Monday temporarily suspended all flights from the UK to India from December 22 to December 31 and issued a circular stating that all passengers arriving from the UK today and tomorrow would have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR test at airports in India.
On December 20, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had informed the public that a new variant of the COVID-19 virus has been found in the country.
“Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned,” he had tweeted.