UK returnee to AP tests positive for new Covid strain

UK-returned Rajahmundry woman first case of mutated Covid-19 strain in Andhra Pradesh

Officials have identified 1,423 persons in the state as recent returnees from the European nation

Representative Image. Credit: PTI Photo

A UK returned Anglo-Indian woman who reportedly dodged quarantine in New Delhi and traveled by train to Rajahmundry last week was found to be infected with the UK strain of Covid-19.

The middle-aged woman, who gave a fright to the health authorities with the 28-hour rail journey, is the only person confirmed till now in Andhra Pradesh with the mutated virus.

Officials have identified 1,423 persons in the state as recent returnees from the European nation.

1,406 people were traced while 17 persons are still “missing.”

12 out of the 1,406 persons who underwent RT-PCR tests tested positive. Further, 6364 primary contacts of these 1,406 people were tested and 12 of them also tested positive. Samples of all these 24 positive cases were sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad for genome sequencing.

“While CCMB declared that UK strain was found in the sample of the Rajahmundry woman, we are yet to receive the reports of the remaining 23 samples,” said Katamneni Bhaskar, commissioner, health and family welfare.

Officials are appealing to the public not to panic, as “there is no evidence of expansion of the UK strain in AP.”

“There is no spread of the virus from the woman. Even her son who traveled with her had tested negative. Please do not believe any rumours as the situation is continuously monitored by the government,” the senior health official said.

The 47 year old woman had tested Covid-19 positive upon her arrival at the New Delhi airport on 21 December, but took a train journey of about 28 hours to reach Rajahmundry on 23 December late night.

The woman, a teacher in a private school in Rajahmundry, visited the UK recently, as the family had plans to move there. Her husband is in the UK. Her 22-year-old son went to Delhi and accompanied her back on the New Delhi-Visakhapatnam train.

Alerted about her journey by the authorities in New Delhi, AP health officials picked her and her son from the railway station and lodged them in a government health facility.

"The UK returned lady continues to be asymptomatic and is in a stable condition. She is kept in a 14-day institutional quarantine,” one East Godavari district health official told DH.