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Health dept plans to conduct more genome sequencing

KOLKATA: In the wake of a new Coronavirus strain found in Maharashtra, the state Health department is planning to conduct more genome sequencing to ascertain if there is a change in the characteristic of the virus.

Steps have been taken by the Health department after a new strain is found in the country which has the capacity of being transmitted to more people. As the COVID infection graph has been fluctuating in Bengal, the health workers are not willing to take any risks.

Single day infection rate in Bengal has started declining from February and the health officials thought the curve might get flattened.

As the graph has been fluctuating, the Health officials in the state are of the opinion that more number of tests must be carried out across the state.

If the rapid antigen tests report comes negative for a person, an RT-PCR test must be conducted. Genome sequencing tests must be carried out from time to time to identify the change in the nature of the virus in the state if there is any at all.

The Union Health ministry has already directed various state governments including Bengal to conduct genome sequencing if there is any 'mutant virus' found. The State Health department has been closely monitoring the situation. Genome sequencing will be done whenever it is necessary, said a senior health official in the state. The Health department is also keen on increasing the number of testing centers if the infection goes up further.

"There is nothing to panic as the situation is completely under control. Precautionary measures are being taken in the wake of the new Indian strain found in Maharashtra," a top health official said.

Maharashtra government has already imposed lockdown in some of its cities as the infection rate has gone up. The single day infection in Bengal remains below 200 for the past few days. The case load has been hovering between 170 and 190 per day while the daily mortality rate in the state consistently remains below 4 in Bengal for the past few days.

Apart from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gurjarat are among the states which raise major cause of concern for the Centre as the infection rate is still higher in these states compared to others. Health officials in the state also laid emphasis on the maintenance of physical distancing as much as possible and wearing of masks while stepping out of the house.

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