Six passengers on London-Delhi flight test positive for Covid-19

Their samples have been sent to NCDC for research and they have been sent to Covid-19 care centre
Last Updated 22 December 2020, 10:00 IST

Six passengers travelling on Air India's London-Delhi flight tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The flight landed around 11.30 pm on Monday.

"Five passengers were found Covid-positive at the Delhi airport. One passenger who took a connecting flight to Chennai was tested there and found positive," the official said.

"A second flight from London landed at 6 am on Tuesday. Tests on the passengers are underway," said Dr Gauri Agarwal, founder of the Genestrings Diagnostic Center that is handling coronavirus testing at Delhi airport.

“Of the approximately 100 tests completed so far, no positive found… We have two more flights scheduled for tonight," Agarwal told PTI.

Another two passengers from the UK were found positive for Covid-19 after they arrived at the Kolkata airport.

The Central government on Monday said all UK-India flights will be suspended from December 23 to December 31 in view of the emergence of a new coronavirus strain in that country.

It also said all passengers coming from the UK on Monday and Tuesday would be compulsorily tested for coronavirus on arrival at airports.

The positive samples from Monday night’s flight were sent to the National Centre for Disease Control, Agarwal told PTI.

"Positive samples have been sent to NCDC for research on the new strain using next-gen sequencing technology which will help us understand the implications on ongoing vaccine efficacy," she said.

Meanwhile, a passenger, who returned to Chennai from Britain via New Delhi, has also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, amid concerns that a new strain of the Covid-19 virus is spreading more quickly in that country. The passenger, who was under institutional quarantine, was shifted to hospital care on Tuesday morning.

The Tamil Nadu government is sending the swab samples of the said passenger to the National Institute of Virology, Pune for genomic analysis to find out whether he is infected with old or the new strain that has caused many scares across the globe.

The discovery of the new strain, just months before vaccines are expected to be widely available, sowed new panic in a pandemic that has killed about 1.7 million people worldwide and more than 67,000 in Britain.

At least two other flights from Britain have landed in India since the announcement of the flight ban, one in Mumbai and the other in the northern city of Amritsar.

(Published 22 December 2020, 05:46 IST)

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