India has detected both the South African and Brazilian coronavirus variants and people returning from those countries may be tested more aggressively, health officials said on Tuesday.
The team of French researchers said "reinfections have been described but remain rare albeit probably underestimated", and due to undersurveillance, it is hard to confirm whether the researchers found the first true case of reinfection with the variant, per the Washington Post.
"A case of Brazil variant of SAS-CoV-2 detected in the first week of Feb. Virus strain successfully isolated and cultured at ICMR-NIV-Pune". The traveller and contacts have been tested and quarantined. Of the three, the South African variant known as 20H/501Y.V2 or B.1.351, is different from the one in Britain and appears to be more infectious than the original virus. However, all travellers and their contacts have been tested and quarantined.
"One case was found in a person who returned from Angola, one from Tanzania and rest from persons who returned from South Africa", he said.
He said we know less about that variant - like whether it transmits more easily - but we do know that it evades protection from antibodies, diminishing the protections of prior infections and vaccines.
Speaking about measures to restrict and check the entry of COVID virus strains (South Africa/Brazil) into the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that flights from South Africa and Brazil to India are routed through Gulf countries.
India's Covid-19 cases rose by 9,121 in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 10.93 million, second only to the tally of the US. "The vaccines are safe and can be given to people on blood thinners and aspirin", he added. He also said that 11 States/ UTs with vaccination coverage of less than 50% including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Chandigarh, Nagaland and Puducherry have been instructed to have multiple vaccination sessions.
The difference between the recovered and active cases has further increased to 1,04,96,153, the ministry underlined.