As India steps up testing to contain the spread of a new mutant strain of coronavirus, first found in the United Kingdom in September, Pune's civic body has put out a video appeal to trace over 100 travellers who returned from the UK before December 22. The Pune Municipal Corporation has also asked the city police to help them. The civic body's appeal comes as India's tally of patients infected with the mutant strain - believed to be significantly more infectious - rose to 20 this morning.
"I want to appeal to all the residents of Pune who have returned from the UK to please contact us. We've not been able to trace 109 UK travellers because of incorrect contact details," Rubal Agarwal, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Pune, is heard saying in a nearly one-minute long clip.
"All these people landed before December 22 and they were supposed to quarantine for seven days. I appeal to you that 10 days have already passed after your arrival... so please get in touch with us and update us if you're experiencing any symptoms. We won't put you under institutional quarantine," she adds.
Some travelers landed in Mumbai and came to Pune by road. While the PMC's contact-tracing team tried to reach out to them, they remained untraceable, the civic body has said.
According to the PMC's guidelines, all passengers arriving from West Asian and European countries have to undergo mandatory institutional quarantine at their own cost in nearby hotels in the city for seven days.
A consortium of 10 government labs has started genome sequencing of new Sars-CoV-2 variant detected in UK. Of the 20 cases of mutant strain, a Pune lab has recorded one case so far. Eight samples have tested positive at a Delhi lab and seven at a lab in Bengaluru.
India has extended the temporary UK travel ban till January 7. The country's tally surged to 1,02,44,852 cases this morning.