Jammu: With the significant dip in COVID cases as well as fatalities, the second wave is receding in Jammu and Kashmir but on Wednesday health authorities sounded alert as the first cases of dealt plus variant reported in Jammu, which has been tagged as a “Variant of Concern” by the Government of India.
“The first cases of delta variant reported in Jammu. However, the case detected during the genome sequencing of random sampling,” an official told The Dispatch. He added that the health authorities have been tracing the patient.
Confirming the case, Dr Shashi Sudan Sharma, Principal, Government Medical College and Hospital, Jammu said, “around ten days ago, a sample was received from Katra and the same was sent to Delhi for testing.”
“As per report it was confirmed ‘Delta plus Variant’ but the history/background of the patient is not known,” she said adding that either the carrier was local or a traveler to Katra is not yet ascertained.
There are over 40 cases in the country of the new Delta Plus strain, which has been tagged as a “Variant of Concern” by the government.
Yesterday, the government sent a warning to Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh on Delta Plus cases found there and urged “immediate containment measures”.
According to the letter, Delta Plus cases have been found in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri and Jalgaon; in Palakkad and Pathanamthitta in Kerala; and in Bhopal and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh.
“As of now among the samples sequenced (45,000+) in India, Delta plus variant — AY.1 –has been observed sporadically in Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, with around 40 cases identified so far and no significant increase in prevalence,” the ministry said in its statement.
Sources say that cases of the new strain, a mutation of the Delta strain or B.1.617.2 variant first detected in India, are not confined to these states.
There are 21 cases in Maharashtra, six in Madhya Pradesh, three in Kerala, three in Tamil Nadu, two in Karnataka and one each in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu, according to sources.
Delta Plus cases, still low in numbers, are emerging as large parts of India are ending severe lockdowns and restrictions with Covid cases on the decline after a fierce second wave ambushed the nation’s health infrastructure in April-May.
INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia), a consortium of 28 labs tasked with genome sequencing of the virus causing Covid, says properties of the Delta Plus are still being investigated. It is characterized by a mutation in the spike protein, which helps the virus gain entry into human cells.
“Currently the number of such Delta plus variants in India are only few but the distribution/detection in various states during past two months indicate that it is already present in some states and states may need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing and priority vaccination,” it says.
Out of fresh cases, 138 from Jammu Division And 306 from Kashmir Division
Among fresh fatalities, 2 from Jammu Division and 2 from Kashmir Division.