States and union territories on Wednesday were asked by the Centre to access details of passengers from the United Kingdom to India and send samples of those found positive for COVID-19 to the laboratories identified for genome sequencing.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reviewed the status of passengers coming from the UK to India and found positive in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Goa, Punjab, Gujarat and Kerala and their response measures in a meeting held through video conferencing.
Indian Council of Medical Research DG; health secretaries of states and union territories; NHM MD; Arti Ahuja, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health; Dr Sujeet Singh, Director, NCDC, and other senior health officials were also present in the meeting, a health ministry statement said.
The Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Ministry on December 22 for Epidemiological Surveillance and Response in the context of new variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus detected in the UK was discussed in detail in the meeting.
'The states and UTs were advised to access the details of passengers from UK to India from the online portal AIR-SUVIDHA and Bureau of Immigration.
'They were also asked to send the samples of those found positive to the laboratories identified for genome sequencing,' the statement stated.
The list of six identified Laboratories along with the contact details of their nodal officers was also shared with the states.
These laboratories are: CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi; CSIR- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad; DBT- Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar; DBT-InStem-NCBS, Bengaluru; DBT-National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), Kalyani, West Bengal; and ICMR- National Institute of Virology, Pune.
The number of such designated labs would increase over time and their details would be shared with the states and UTs, the statement said.
The concerns related to logistics etc raised by the states were clarified in the meeting.
The states were also advised to coordinate with the respective Airport Health Offices (APHOs) and surveillance officials in their state in order to ensure adherence to the SOPs, the statement said.