'Delta Plus Covid variant yet to be detected in Assam'

Delta Covid variant predominant in Assam, Delta Plus yet to be detected: CM

The health care workers are being incentivised to motivate and encourage people to get themselves vaccinated

Himanta Biswa Sarma. Credit: PTI File Photo

An alert has been raised on the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus in the country but it is yet to detected in Assam, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday.

Of the two variants -- Delta and Delta Plus -- a "red flag has been raised in the country for the latter", the chief minister told PTI.

"We are doing genomic sequencing but as of now we have not found the Delta Plus variant in Assam", he said.

However, the Delta variant is predominant in the state and "We are dealing with it", Sarma added.

The Union health ministry on Friday said, it has been intimated by INSACOG, a consortium of laboratories for whole genome sequencing in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, that the Delta Plus variant, which is a Variant of Concern (VOC), has the following characteristics increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.

State Health minister Keshab Mahanta had said on the same day that one Covid-19 positive patient died of the Delta variant in the state and the strain was found in 77 per cent of the samples tested in April and May at the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics at Kalyani in West Bengal.

Also read: Delta Plus has more affinity for lung tissues compared to other Covid-19 strains: NTAGI chief

The chief minister said that though there was initial "hesitancy among the people to get vaccinated but I am now confident that we can administer five lakh vaccines per day."

The initial hesitancy was primarily due to the "general mindset prevailing till April 10 that Covid-19 was almost over in Assam but from May, the demand for vaccines has gone up in the state.

"We tried to match the demand for vaccines but there was a constraint on the supply side", he said.

Recently the state was asked by the Union health ministry to vaccinate 2.6 lakh people daily as, "They wanted to see our performance and for three days from June 21, we have inoculated 10.5 lakh people. This shows our strength", the chief minister said.

State ministers were on the ground to oversee the vaccination drive for three days and they are hopeful that about five lakh people can be vaccinated per day, he said. Model vaccination centres have been created, ANMs (village-level female health workers) are working overtime and computer operators have been stationed at the vaccination centres so that digital illiteracy does not come in the way of inoculation, he said.

Also read: Delta variant dominates vaccine-breakthrough infections among hospital staff: Study

The health care workers are being incentivised to motivate and encourage people to get themselves vaccinated.

Various social organisations and even a few political parties are taking steps for generating awareness for the vaccination drive. 

"In Assam, I am confident that till we reach the saturation, we can do five lakh vaccination per day", the Chief Minister added. As many as 56,52,309 persons have received their first dose and 11,81,678 beneficiaries have taken both first and second doses. 

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