Rise in COVID cases: States, UTs asked to submit ‘huge number’ of samples for whole genome sequencing


New Delhi, June 18

Official sources said on Saturday that states and union territories have been asked to submit a “large number” of samples for whole genome sequencing from districts and regions that have seen a surge in Covid-19 cases over a period of seven days. Has been.

The directive was issued by INSACOG during Friday’s meeting, reviewing the COVID-19 data to examine the possibility of any new emerging variant or sub-version and to find out the reasons for the breakthrough infection.

“The idea of ​​asking states and union territories to send samples in large numbers is to keep a close watch on the current circulating sub-lines of Omicron and its relationship with the current epidemiological picture,” an official said.

“Also, we want to see if we are missing any important clues about new subtypes during routine sequencing through sentinel surveillance,” the official said.

As of today, 10 states and union territories- Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Gujarat have more than 1,000 cases.

“Last review meeting that right now there is no kind of worry in the country. India now has BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to BA, which have slightly higher transmission potential than other Omicron sub lineages,” the official said.

INSACOG is a joint initiative of the Department of Biotechnology under the Ministries of Science and Technology, and carries out genome sequencing of the virus to understand how it spreads and evolves.

Thirty-two districts in India, including 11 in Kerala and five in Maharashtra, are reporting weekly Covid positivity rates of more than 10 per cent, while 35 districts, including 9 in Delhi, have weekly positivity between 5 and 10 per cent, sources said.

India recorded an increase of 13,216 new coronavirus infections in a day, taking the total number of Covid-19 cases to 4,32,83,793, while active cases rose to 68,108, according to the health ministry’s data updated on Saturday morning.

The death toll has risen to 5,24,840 with 23 new deaths.

According to health experts, though there has been an increase in cases, there has been no increase in hospitalizations or deaths. Also, the increase is limited to a few districts.

The complacency among people to follow COVID-appropriate behavior as well as not being enthusiastic about taking precautionary doses has probably led to an increase in the pool of susceptible population.

In addition, there has been an increase in mobility due to summer holidays, the easing of travel restrictions – nationally and internationally – and the complete opening of economic activity, leading to the spread of infections among vulnerable individuals.