Published on February 20, 2021

AHMEDABAD: After the threat of different variants of Covid-19, which are reported from the UK, South Africa and Brazil – the first cases of which have already been reported in India – the state health department is also gearing up to check the possible mutation in Maharashtra.

According to reports, the new variant causes early pneumonia among the Covid-19 positive patients. If not checked in time, it can lead to higher mortality, cautioned experts. Such cases were reported in places such as Akola, Amravati and Yavatmal in Maharashtra. The Maharashtra health department on Friday however claimed that the genetic make-up of the virus is not found to be different than the existing one and it’s surely not ‘foreign variant.’

Jayanti Ravi, principal secretary (health & family welfare), told TOI that the department carried out a detailed video conference with district collectors and city commissioners. “The preparation is not just about the new cases in neighbouring state, but overall caution for any variant. The screening of passengers coming to the state by air and road will be intensified. We have also instructed the bordering districts to carry out random testing,” she said, adding that private practitioners will also be roped in to report any unusual symptoms.

State health department officials said that the earlier strategy to go after the influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) are again put in place with an eye on the data of 104 and 108 emergency services to find out an possible cases. “Technology such as Itihas software to find those in contact with the confirmed cases will also be put in place,” said a senior official. A meeting with chief district health officers (CDHOs) on the topic was also convened on Thursday, added the official.

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