The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday, 6 January, said that the total number of cases infected with the United Kingdom strain of the coronavirus now stands at 73.
Earlier in the day, the Centre had said that a total of 71 persons have been detected with the new 'more transmissible' UK coronavirus mutant strain.
According to the Health Ministry, all these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by respective state governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine, IANS reported.
"Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on," the ministry said.
On 29 December, a total of six UK returnees were found to be positive with the new variant genome. These were the first cases to be reported by the country that has the second highest number of cases after the United States.
According to the IANS report, the tracing and testing was initiated after the British government announced that a newly identified strain of the virus was found in their population, which is up to 70 percent more transmissible.
Notably, the new UK variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.
From 25 November to 23 December midnight, about 33,000 passengers disembarked at various Indian airports from UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected to RT-PCR tests by states and UTs.
The Union Health Ministry further stated that the situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to labs.
(With inputs from IANS.)