Published On : Tue, Aug 10th, 2021

India detects 86 cases of Delta Plus, maximum in Maharashtra

New Delhi: India has detected over 86 cases of Delta Plus variant of SARS CoV2 virus with maximum 34 cases from Maharashtra, central government said on Tuesday.

While Tamil Nadu reported 10 cases of Delta Plus, Karnataka and Chandigarh recorded 4 cases each.

Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has sequenced over 58,240 samples so far. The government is currently monitoring the variants of concern–Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Delta Plus. “There are two variants under investigation – Kappa and B1617.3. We were doing two kinds of surveillance – to monitor variants of concern which are coming from outside and to monitor impact of Delta variant in country. Today, we need to look for new mutants because they can reach anywhere any time, he added,” said Dr Sujeet Singh, director National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC0.

However, Singh said that Delta Plus variant would not cause an exponential surge of covid-19 cases. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) earlier in June had said that Delta Plus variant is a “variant of concern”.

Following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) strategy, government has identified sentinel sites and representative samples from every district of every state are being subjected to genome sequencing.

“Sentinel sites were affixed across the country and all states were asked to identify a minimum of 5 labs and 5 tertiary care hospitals and see if the sentinel sites represented samples of a representative district. Around 277 sentinel sites have been identified while 8,000 samples have been sent in July. We are testing to find out if there is any mutant that may cause a public impact,” said Singh.

Singh highlighted that similar to other states, 80% of cases in Kerala are of Delta variant. Frequency of Delta Variant started increasing in March 2021 At present Delta Variant is dominant, he said.

“Some districts indicated an increasing trend of positivity rate – Malappuram, Kozhikode, Pathanamthitta. 80% of cases were found to be positive for Delta variant, like other states,” said Singh who visited Kerala to assess the rising cases in the southern state.

The union health ministry data showed that 51.51% of the total cases in last week reported from Kerala. At least 37 Districts are still reporting increasing trend in Daily New Cases during last 2 weeks maximum from Kerala followed by Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh.

The government said that the Reproduction number or Rt which refers to how many people an infected person infects, on average, is spreading is increasing in some states such as Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. In other words, Rt can tell that how ‘efficiently’ a virus.

“We have two weapons to fight this pandemic, vaccination and social vaccination tools. We can stop the spread of virus by following corona appropriate behavior, which includes wearing mask properly, maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene,” said Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary in union health ministry in a press briefing.

A central government expert team visited Kerala and found various reasons for behind uncontrolled surge in covid-19 cases such as containment zones not being made according to central government guidelines. It also found that Perimeter control and cordoning off of CZs is not strict and there are no Buffer Zones surrounding CZs. Singh said that contact tracing is in Kerala abysmally low adding that the Rt value which was lowest (0.8) on June 1 is continuously rising with current Rt value of 1.2.

“India’s active caseload declines to 3,88,508 since the highest reported peak of 37.45 lakh active cases on 10th May A consistent increase in recovery rate is observed which currently stands at 97.45% as on date,” said Agarwal.

India reported over 28,204 new cases in last 24 hours; lowest in 147 days. Active cases constitute 1.21% of total cases; lowest since Mar 2020. The Country also recorded 376 deaths due to covid-19.

“Weekly case positivity rate has been declining from a high of 21.39% as on week ending 10th May 2021 to less than 2% during the last two weeks. 44 districts in 11 states are reporting more than 10% weekly positivity rate,” Agarwal said.

“Government of India in collaboration with States and vaccine manufacturers has been working on a continued basis. Average daily vaccination rate has increased from 2.35 lakh doses per day in January 2021 to 49.11 lakh doses per day in August 2021,” said Agarwal.