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80% Cases in Punjab Found to Have UK Variant: Health Minister

“The increase in cases is event-driven like large weddings, local body elections, protests” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

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India
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Dr Harsh Vardhan
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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday, 7 April, said that 80 percent of COVID-19 cases in Punjab are due to the UK variant of the virus — this has been confirmed though genome sequencing.

Genomic sequencing is a test determining the precise genetic information a virus is carrying, by looking at the way viruses mutate, multiply, and spread.

“The reasons behind the recent surge could be gatherings like marriages, local body elections, and farmers' protests,” he added. The Union minister in his meet addressed health ministers of 11 states, ANI reported.

According to detailed data analysis released by the Central government, the average daily cases in Punjab have shot up from 240 cases (10-16 February) to 2,793 cases (31 March to 6 April).

Expressing concern about the COVID situation in Chhattisgarh, the minister said, "Worst-affected states that are seeing a spike in cases are Chattisgarh, Raipur, and Durg. There is a 20 percent positivity rate and the growth rate is 8 percent. The cases have risen from 400 to 4,000, by almost 10 folds," NDTV quoted.

The health minister also spoke on Delhi’s rise in cases, saying that after witnessing a steady decline to around 100 cases a day, the region is now reporting around 5,000 cases a day.

He went on to inform, “The government of India has sent 50 central teams to Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, and Punjab, where 30 districts of Maharashtra, 11 districts of Chattisgarh, and nine districts of Punjab will be covered. They will stay 3-5 days in these districts.”

India reported 1,15,736 new cases of COVID-19, and 630 deaths in the last 24 hours, informed the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday. Active cases now stand at 8,43,473 in the country.

(With inputs from ANI)

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