51 Covid Delta plus variant cases across India, max in Maharashtra


Punjab’s Ludhiana and Patiala districts, Faridabad in Haryana and Katra in J&K have reported their first cases of the highly transmissible Delta plus variant. In all, 51 cases have been reported across 12 states, the maximum 22 in Maharashtra.

Sujeet Singh, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Director, said 22 had been found in Maharashtra, nine in Tamil Nadu, seven in MP, three in Kerala, two each in Punjab and Gujarat, and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, J&K, Haryana and Karnataka. The cases have been found in 45,000 samples sequenced so far.

In Himachal Pradesh, a special vaccination drive will be undertaken on June 28 and 29 for students above the age of 18 and both teaching and non-teaching staff of all educational institutions in the state.

The Centre on Friday urged states and UTs to take up immediate containment measures, including preventing crowds, conducting widespread testing and increasing vaccine coverage on a priority basis in districts where the Delta plus variant had been detected. The measures were suggested by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter to the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

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With Punjab reporting first two cases of the Delta plus variant in Patiala and Ludhiana districts, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has, in a letter to state’s Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, asked the state to take up immediate containment measures as the variant was highly transmissible. The Centre has also suggested sending adequate samples to the designated INSACOG laboratories for genome sequencing.

“Delta is a stronger variant than B117, first detected in the UK. Among all variants of concern found in India, Alpha (B117) accounts for 3,969 cases, Beta (detected in South Africa) 149 and Gamma (detected in Brazil) one case. We have found 48 cases of the Delta plus mutation and are studying them for public health implications,” National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Director SK Singh said today.

The NCDC data shows the Delta variant spread across 174 districts in 35 states with the highest numbers reported from districts in Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, Punjab, Telangana, Bengal and Gujarat. Of the 21,109 variants of concern, Maharashtra has highest 3,117, Delhi 2,973, Kerala 2,382 and Punjab 1,431.