Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday said 21 cases of the ‘Delta plus’ variant of COVID-19, considered highly infectious, have been found in the state so far.
Talking to reporters, Tope said the highest nine cases were reported in Ratnagiri followed by seven in Jalgaon, two in Mumbai and one case each in Palghar, Thane and Sindhudurg districts.
He said 7,500 samples from different parts of the state were collected and sent for laboratory testing.
These samples were collected since May 15 and their genome sequencing was done, the minister said.
Genome sequencing allows the tracking of small mutations in SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, meaning chains of transmission can be identified.
The scientific process also assists in identifying missing links in the chain of transmission.
Tope said complete information about the people detected with the ‘Delta plus’ variant is being sought — their travel history, whether they were vaccinated or not and if they were reinfected.
Their contacts are being traced and tested, the health minister said, adding information on mutation of Delta and Delta plus variants is also being scrutinised.
Last week, the state health department made a presentation where it said the newly identified Delta plus’ variant may trigger a third wave of the pandemic in Maharashtra.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state COVID-19 task force members and health department officials had attended the presentation.