Delta: Take containment measures, Centre asks states

Delta Plus: Centre asks states to undertake containment measures

The Delta Plus variant has three characteristics

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

The Union Health Ministry on Friday asked eight states including Karnataka with Delta Plus variant of novel coronavirus to undertake containment measures in districts reporting such cases and send adequate samples for genome sequencing.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh (Tirupati district), Gujarat (Surat), Haryana (Faridabad), Jammu and Kashmir (Katra), Punjab (Patiala and Ludhiana), Karnataka (Mysuru), Tamil Nadu (Madurai, Kanchipuram, Chennai) and Rajasthan (Bikaner) informing them on the potential risks posed by the Delta Plus variant and what needed to be done.

“The public health response, while broadly remaining the same, has to become more focused and stringent. You are requested to take up immediate containment measures in these districts and clusters including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis,” wrote Bhushan.

Read more: Covishield, Covaxin work against SARS-CoV-2's Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta variants: Centre

Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh were informed earlier this week because of the Delta Plus cases in Jalgaon and Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), Palakkad and Pathanamthitta(Kerala) and Bhopal and Shivpuri(Madhya Pradesh).

The districts have also been asked to ensure supplying adequate samples of positive persons to the designated laboratories under the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Consortium to establish the new variant’s clinical and epidemiological links if any.

The Delta Plus variant has three characteristics – (1) increased transmissibility (2) stronger binding to lung cells and (3) potential reduction in response to monoclonal antibody treatment.

“At this time we need to know how it is spreading. For that, strategic sequencing of representative samples is needed from places it has appeared in, as well as randomly in other states,” senior virologist Shahid Jameel from the Ashoka University told DH.

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