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Gujarat reports its 1st case of XE variant

Gujarat reports its 1st case of XE variant
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Ahmedabad: A 67-year-old man from Mumbai, who had travelled to Vadodara in Gujarat last month, was found infected with XE, Omicron's sub-variant that is considered more transmissible than other variants of Coronavirus, making it the first such case in the state, officials said on Saturday.

The patient had tested positive for Covid on March 12 during his visit to Vadodara, but had returned to Mumbai the next day without informing the local authorities, the officials said.

He was later found infected with the XE variant as per a report given by a Gandhinagar-based lab, which was cross-checked and confirmed by a facility in Kolkata on Friday. The man is currently in Mumbai and his health condition is stable, they added.

The state Health department said that the patient was first tested for COVID-19 at a private laboratory after he developed fever following his arrival in Vadodara on a flight.

His sample was sent for genome sequencing at a laboratory in Gandhinagar, where it was found that he was infected with the new XE variant, it said in a release.

Samples of three persons, who had come in contact with him, had tested negative for the viral infection, it said.

"The patient's sample was further sent for cross-checking at a laboratory in Kolkata, which confirmed on Friday that it was XE variant," Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Manoj Aggarwal told reporters.

The patient had left Gujarat and gone to Mumbai after testing positive. The Health department contacted him over the phone and found that he was in a completely stable condition, the department said in a statement. He is co-morbid, it said.

"The patient has no other symptoms as of now. We have shared the information about him with the officials of the Maharashtra government so that they can take necessary steps. We are keeping a constant eye on the development," Aggarwal said.

The patient had given the address of a local (Gujarat-based) relative to the private laboratory, where he had tested positive. After testing positive for the COVID-19 infection, he had returned to Mumbai without informing the local authorities, Medical Officer of Health, Vadodara Municipal Corporation, Devesh Patel said.

The genomic analysis of the COVID-19 XE variant sample from Gujarat is still underway and results are expected soon, Union Health ministry sources said on Saturday.

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