New Covid variant not virulent, says Karnataka Health Minister

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Bengaluru, 22 Dec 2020: Seeking to allay fears about the spread of a mutated variant of corona in the UK and elsewhere, Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar on Monday said the new virus may be more contagious but not virulent.


"Initial studies in the United Kingdom suggest that the corona virus may be more contagious than the present one but not more virulent," Sudhakar told reporters here after a meeting with the technical advisory committee of his department here.


Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession, said there was no need to panic about the new variant of the infection, but stressed that existing precautions like wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance and sanitising hands had to be followed strictly.


India has suspended flights from the UK from Tuesday night till December 31 to contain the spread of the new variant of the virus.


"We have mandated RT-PCR test and quarantine for all passengers arriving from the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands as a precautionary measure," Sudhakar said.


Of the 291 passengers on a British Airways flight and 296 on an Air India flight who landed at the city airport on Monday, 136 have not yet submitted their negative test report.


"Travellers who arrived in the state from these 3 European countries during the last 14 days will be traced in the next 24 hours and subjected to RT-PCR test," Sudhakar said.


The state government has set up kiosks at the city airport to screen all fliers from abroad.


Sudhakar also said that action will be taken against hotels, resorts and pubs if they allow large gatherings in their premises on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, as it will be against Covid guidelines.



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