Baby born with coronavirus antibodies
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Tinsukia: The sample of a COVID-19 positive patient, who returned from the UK earlier this month, will be sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune to check for the mutated strain.

India has joined the over 40 countries in banning travel from the UK, where a mutated strain of novel coronavirus, which is reportedly 70% more infectious, is rapidly spreading.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said that at least 100 people have come to Assam from the United Kingdom in the past two weeks.

“Out of the 102 returnees from the UK, 72 were from Kamrup Metro district (under which Assam capital Dispur and Guwahati fall). Samples of one COVID-19 positive person has been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune to ascertain the strain of Covid-19,” Sarma told reporters.

Deputy Commissioner of Jorhat Roshani Korati told EastMojo that the administration swung into action after being informed about a person in Jorhat who had recently returned from the UK.

“Upon receiving the information, we have traced the person and collected his sample. We collected samples from his contacts and family members as well,” Korati said.

The Jorhat resident has been identified as Afsakur Rahman, who tested positive for the coronavirus on December 24. Of his contacts, Rahman’s domestic help, a woman, has also tested positive.

According to the district administration, both have been shifted to the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital.

“Their samples will now be sent to NIV in Pune to check if it is the new strain of COVID-19,” the DC added.

Rahman landed in New Delhi on December 13, where his RT PCR test sample was collected upon his return from the UK. Rahman had tested negative then.

Rahman reached Jorhat the same day and went into self-isolation for 7 days, he told authorities. He also visited a neighbourhood shop twice after December 21.

Authorities have collected samples from all those who came in contact with Rahman, who tested positive for the coronavirus on December 24.

The Union Health Ministry has planned to conduct a dry run in select places, including Assam, before the Covid-19 vaccine is rolled out in India.

“The dry run would be conducted without a vaccine. We are happy that Assam is among the four states in India where the dry run would be carried out. The three other states are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab,” Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Assam has reported 2,15,836 Covid-19 cases and 1,033 deaths so far. On Friday, the number of active cases stood at 3,422, while 2,11,378 people have already recovered from the virus.

Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua has issued fresh Covid-19 guidelines, limiting gatherings to a maximum of 50 people during the Christmas and New Year celebrations. The order would remain in force until January 10.

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