The Delhi government has called a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Monday to discuss steps that need to be taken in view of threat of a new COVID-19 variant from African countries, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
The Centre on Thursday had asked all states and union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana, where a new COVID-19 variant of serious public health implications has been reported.
“In view of the threat from a new COVID-19 variant from African countries, we have requested experts to make a presentation to the DDMA on Monday and suggest what steps we should take. We will take all steps necessary to protect you and your family,” Kejriwal tweeted on Friday.
The new variant of COVID-19, feared to have a high amount of spike mutations unseen before, has been detected in South Africa, with authorities there confirming 22 positive cases associated with it on Thursday.
Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at the Imperial College London, had posted details of the new variant classed as B.1.1.529 on his Twitter account earlier this week, following which scientists have been weighing in on what is being considered a variant of concern, though it is yet to be formally categorised in the UK.
Scientists the world over will be watching the new variant for signs of gaining momentum or spreading more widely and rapidly. The high number of spike mutations are concerning from the point of view of both higher transmissibility and immune evasion.