There is no cause of concern or panic over the mutated variant of SARS-CoV-2 detected in the United Kingdom, the government said on Tuesday, noting that no similar or significant mutation has been seen yet in the coronavirus strain in India.
Addressing a press briefing, NITI Aayog member (health) Dr V K Paul said that the mutated SARS-CoV-2 strain detected in the UK has no impact on the potential of emerging vaccines.
"As of now, based on our discussions, deep understanding of data available and our deep assessment, there is no need to panic but it is a cause to be more vigilant. This new challenge we have to counter with our comprehensive efforts. We will be safe if we suppress the genomic sequence," Paul said.
There is no change in treatment guidelines due to this mutation and the vaccines that are being developed, particularly those in the country, will not be impacted, he said.
Paul said that mutation might result in the virus becoming more infectious and spreading more easily between people.
"It is also being said that in these viruses, the transmissibility has increased by 70 per cent, you can also call them super spreader in a way but it does not increase the propencity of death, hospitalisation and severity of the disease. What is affected is tendency to affect more people that by itself is a cause of concern. It is an adverse development," he said.
Paul said that there is no need to "panic" and added that "we are yet to spot such a virus in our country".
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there has been a sustained decline in COVID-19 cases in India since mid-September.
"India has reported 124 COVID-19 cases per million population in the last seven days as against the global figure of 588. India has reported two COVID-19 deaths per million population in the last seven days as against the global figure of 10 deaths," he said.
Bhushan said that 26 states and UTs have less than 10,000 active cases of COVID-19.
The government has issued standard operating procedures listing the activities to be undertaken at the point of entry and in the community for all international passengers who have travelled to or through the UK in the past four weeks, from November 25 to December 23, he said.
The Union health ministry said that 61 per cent of COVID-19 deaths reported in a span of 24 hours were from Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh.
While, 57 per cent of COVID-19 cases reported in a span of 24 hours were from Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, it said.