A laboratory technician carries swab samples collected from passengers tested for COVID-19 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. Photo: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters
New Delhi: A 33-year-old man, currently admitted at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) hospital, has become the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Delhi caused by the novel coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa, sources said on Tuesday.
He was brought to the hospital about a week ago, and has been kept isolated in a separate unit, a source said.
The LNJP hospital had earlier also admitted people who had been found positive for the COVID-19 strain first detected in UK, and after their treatment about two such patients had remained till February end, a senior doctor had earlier said.
Sources on Tuesday said the 33-year-old man has become the first confirmed case of COVID-19 caused by the variant from South Africa in Delhi.
“He is kept in a very different isolation area and was brought here about a week ago and then tested. He came positive for the variant [from South Africa],” the source said.
The man was initially asymptomatic but his present condition is not yet known.
A month ago, the Centre had said that for the first time in India, four people were detected with the South Africa variant of SARS-CoV-2 and one had tested positive for the variant from Brazil in the country.
In India, the strain from South Africa had been detected in four returnees ‒ one from Angola, one from Tanzania and two from South Africa in January, Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava had said – adding that all travellers and contacts had been tested and quarantined.
Three new variants of COVID-19, from the UK, South Africa and Brazil, have been reported so far in India, minister of state for health Ashwini Choubey informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
On whether the people who have been infected once could get re-infected by the new virus strain, Choubey said as per WHO, in the three countries where the pandemic is being driven by the variant mutants of SARS-CoV-2 virus, namely the UK South Africa and Brazil, the variants from South Africa and Brazil have the potential to re-infect persons who have been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Recognising that the mutant variants of SARS-CoV-2 are driving the pandemic in countries of their origin, namely the UK, South Africa and Brazil, the government of India has revised its guidelines for international travel to minimise the risk of importation and further spread of these mutant variants in India, he said.