At least 16 people who came to India from the UK in the past few days have tested positive for COVID-19 amid alarm over a mutant strain of the coronavirus that is believed to be more contagious and was first identified in Britain.
Eight people who came from or via the UK have tested positive in Amritsar, five in New Delhi, two in Kolkata and one in Chennai, authorities said. There have been no confirmed instances of the mutant strain anywhere in India so far, the government has said.
Over the last two days, before the ban on flights from the UK kicked in on Wednesday, all passengers from the country have been subjected to RT-PCR tests for the coronavirus and made to wait at the airports till the results came in.
Samples of those who tested positive have been sent to specialised labs like the National Institute of Virology in Pune to determine if the infection is from the mutant coronavirus.
Authorities are also tracing every traveller from the UK in the last four weeks and recommending strict self-monitoring for those who have come in over the last two weeks.
India has suspended all flights from the UK until December 31 and the country’s financial capital Mumbai has announced a night-time curfew over fears of the British strain.