Delhi Government to set isolation facilities at four private hospitals
Delhi Government, on Wednesday, announced to set isolation facilities at four private hospitals for those who traveled from or transited through the UK between November 25 and December 24 and tested positive for a new strain of coronavirus. The list includes Max Smart, Saket; Batra Hospital, Tughlakabad Institutional Area; Fortis, Vasant Kunj, and Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital.
What is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?
According to the Standard Operating Procedure, state governments should ensure that all passengers traveling from or transiting through UK airports and disembarking in India are subjected to RT-PCR test on arrival. In case of a positive sample, a spike gene-based RT-PCR test should also be performed. Passengers testing positive should be isolated in a separate unit authorized by the respective state health authority.
Genome testing of positive samples
All positive samples should be sent to either the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, or another appropriate lab for genomic sequencing. If sequencing is consistent with the current SARS-CoV-2 genome in circulation, the ongoing treatment, including home isolation must continue. However, if genomic sequencing indicates the presence of the new variant, then the patient will continue to remain in a separate isolation unit.
COVID's new variant around the world
Worryingly, World Health Organisation has said that the new strain has a 70 percent higher rate of transmission and may already be present in several countries. However, it is "unlikely that a couple of mutations" can affect the immune system's response to an existing vaccine. Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Lebanon, and Singapore have so far reported it.