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New UK variant threat: MSF staffer tests positive for COVID19, sample sent to Delhi

SRINAGAR: A top health expert working with Medicine Sans Frontier (MSF) in Kashmir has tested positive for COVID 19.

He has been shifted to a hospital for isolation. His samples have been sent to Delhi for varying genome.

“We can’t disclose the health of our staff because it is private and confidential. However, one of the staff has been tested Covid positive, but we can’t give you details. He is working on the Kashmir project. At MSF, we respect the confidentiality of our staff and can’t give so many details about their health,” said Aditi Sonrexa, media communication head, MSF India.

In a related development, one of the two UK returnees admitted at Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Hospital, Rainawari, has been tested negative for COVID. Since he was a close contact of the positive case, he has been isolated in JLNM. The genome reports of both are yet to be received.

“Of the two cases, one has tested negative. But samples of both have been sent to NCDC. We have not yet received the reports. Both are admitted to our hospital. Family of the positive person has been quarantined in a hotel,” Dr. Bilquis Shah, Nodal Officer, COVID, JLNM, told The Kashmir Monitor.

Dr. Tasaduq Naik, COVID 19 response coordinator for the Health Department, said their samples are have been sent to Delhi to confirm the strain. “We have not yet received the reports,” he said.

Last month, a United Kingdom (UK) returnee had tested positive for COVID 19 in Jammu. His samples to Delhi to check the COVID strain.

A new mutation called VUI 2020 12/01 is circulating in the UK and its transmission have been faster than expected in the last few weeks. Given the severity of infection, the UK government has extended the lockdown. India has also suspended flights to and from the UK to prevent the spread of infection in the country.

Last month, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, PK Pole had told The Kashmir Monitor that the people arriving from foreign countries are being tested for COVID 19 at Srinagar airport.

“All foreign returnees are being tested at the airport. There is a possibility that some foreign returnees may have traveled to the UK some time ago. Or some travelers may have traveled with UK returnees. We can’t take any chance. Therefore, all are being tested at the airport. Both RAT and RTPCR tests are conducted. When they test negative for both, they are allowed to go home,” Pole had said