South African, Brazilian COVID variants detected in India

India has reported both South African and Brazilian coronavirus variants and could be more vigorously screened by people returning from those countries, health officials said on Tuesday.

The South African variant was found last month in four individuals and the Brazilian one in one individual this month, they said, adding that the strains can infect the lungs of a person more easily than the UK mutation.

As is being done for those flying in from the UK, the Indian government is now considering mandating RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests for all individuals coming from Brazil and South Africa. To date, India has reported 187 cases of UK-variant infection.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a news conference “There are no direct flights from South Africa or Brazil, so the health ministry and the civil aviation ministry are in touch on the steps to be taken on the matter,”

Over the past 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 cases increased by 9,121, raising the number to 10.93 million, second only to the United States’ count. Deaths have risen by 81 to 155,813.

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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