India World

India confirms six cases of fast-spreading mutated Covid-19 UK strain

India has confirmed six cases of the more infectious variant of Covid-19 that was first identified in the United Kingdom.

Six individuals who returned from the UK are being kept in isolation, officials said on Tuesday.

India joined a list of other countries last week in suspending flights to and from the UK.

The new variant is considerably more transmissible than previous strains but not necessarily any more dangerous, experts say.

With more than 10 million confirmed cases so far, India has the second-highest caseload in the world after the US.

Officials in India have begun contact-tracing close contacts and family members of the six who have tested positive for the new variant.

Passengers arriving from the UK will undergo RT-PCR tests at all airports in the country, an official statement said. The samples found to be positive will then be genome sequenced by government-run labs in order to detect the new variant.

Around 33,000 passengers arrived in India from the UK over the past month. Of those, 114 were found to be positive for coronavirus – their samples have been sent to ten labs for genome sequencing, according to the statement.

News of the new variant triggered travel restrictions around the world last week. Several countries such as Canada, Japan, Spain, Sweden and France have all confirmed the presence of the new strain.