New Delhi: The official sources on Saturday said the states and Union Territories have been asked to submit “larger number” of samples for whole genome sequencing from the districts and areas, which have witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases in the past week, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported. “The idea behind asking states and Union territories to send larger number of samples is to keep a closer watch over the current circulating sublineagues of Omicron and its correlation to the current epidemiological picture,” the news agency quoted an official as saying.
“Also, we want to see if we are missing out any important clues regarding newer sub variants during routine sequencing through the sentinel surveillance,” the official added.
The direction in this regard was issued during the meeting held earlier on Friday by the INSACOG.
The INSACOG, a joint initiative of the Department of Biotechnology under the ministries of science and technology, and health to carry out genome sequencing of the virus to understand how it spreads and evolves, during the meeting reviewed the Covid-19 data to check the possibility of any new emerging variant or sub-variant and find out the reasons behind the breakthrough infections.
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At least 10 states and Union Territories, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala, have over 1,000 Covid-19 cases as on date.
Asserting “there is no variant of concern in the country as of now”, the official said: “India now has BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to BA.2 which have slightly higher transmissibility as compared to other Omicron sub lineages.”
The sources said the guidelines come as 32 districts, including 11 from Kerala and five from Maharashtra, are reporting a weekly Covid positivity rate of more than 10 percent, while in 35 districts, including nine from Delhi, the weekly positivity is between 5 and 10 percent.
The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry in a release earlier in the day said India’s active caseload currently stands at 68,108 and added that 13,216 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.
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