6 cases of new Covid-19 strain detected in Kerala

More trouble is in store for the country’s latest Coviod-19 hotspot Kerala after six cases of mutant strain of Covid-19 have been reported from the state on Monday. State health minister KK Shailaja said detailed examination at the National Institute of Virology in Pune confirmed the new strain and asked people to take utmost care.

“All are returnees from the United Kingdom and they have been isolated. Their relatives and others who came in contact with them after their return are under strict surveillance,” said the minister. She said out of six, two each are from Kozhikode and Alapuzha and one each from Kottayam and Kannur.

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“No need of any panic. But at the same time, we have to keep strict vigil. Travel if necessary but take all precautions. What worries the state is its high density of population (860 people per square km). We will win this round also,” said the minister. At least one-fifth of the total cases are reported from the state for more than a week and its test positivity rate is more than double of the national rate. The only solace for Kerala is its low mortality, 0.4 per cent. In India, the first virus case was reported in Kerala last year in January in a China-returned medical student.

According to medical experts, the new UK strain is at least 70 per cent deadlier than the normal one and its contagion rate is also very high. At least 39 cases of the new strain were reported in the country so far. At least 33,000 passengers from the UK had disembarked at various airports in the country between November 25 and December 23. In December last week, the government had suspended all flights from the UK.

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