Hindustan Times (East UP)

Double mutant, UK strain found in Doon samples

- HT Correspond­ent letters@hindustant­imes.com HT Correspond­ent letters@hindustant­imes.com

DEHRADUN: Double mutant strain of the coronaviru­s and UK strain were found in the samples collected from Dehradun, experts said, a worry for health department officials amid a rising number of Covid-19 cases.

The double mutant virus was found in three of the five samples sent by the Doon Government Hospital to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Delhi in March. The UK strain was found in one sample. The results were received by the hospital a few days ago.

Confirming the developmen­t, Dr Deepak Juyal of the virology department in Doon Government Hospital said, “The hospital had sent samples for detecting the presence of new strains in the samples collected in Dehradun. Five samples, including three from a private laboratory, were sent. The double mutant virus B.1.617, which was first found in India, was detected in three samples. In one sample, the UK strain B.1.1.7 was detected.”

Explaining the seriousnes­s of the findings, Dr Juyal said the double mutant virus spreads at a much faster rate. “This is more virulent and if one person gets infected with it, then the whole family would get infected, which was not the case last year,” he said.

Dr DD Chowdhury, national vice president of Indian Medical Associatio­n who has also been treating at least 20 Covid-19 patients daily basis in Dehradun, suspect that most of the cases in Dehradun are of double mutant virus.

“The transmissi­on rate of this double mutant is more. But the death rate is less. The patients infected by this virus are responding well to treatment,” he said.

Cautioning people against putting their guard down, he said, “People now need to take utmost precaution including wearing of masks, social distancing and avoiding crowded places. There should be no complacenc­y in this as it could prove dangerous for them. And all people should get vaccinated, which is the only way to curb this spread.”

Uttarakhan­d has reported a total 126,193 Covid-19 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. Of the total cases, 102,899 have been treated. Dehradun district has reported the maximum number of Covid cases at 41903. Till Monday, the total number of active cases in the state was 18,864, of which Dehradun has maximum at 7583. The state has so far reported 1892 Covid19-related deaths, with Dehradun accounting for the most.

DEHRADUN: Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Tuesday that there is a need to focus on reverse migration in the border areas along China in the interest of national security.

Gen Rawat made the statement while meeting senior state police officers, including director general of police Ashok Kumar, in Dehradun and held a discussion on “Role of Uttarakhan­d in tackling national security challenge.”

Addressing the police officers. he said, “Migration from the border areas of the state is not a good thing for national security. There has to be an emphasis on reverse migration to those areas by promoting developmen­t works in the field of infrastruc­ture, education and health.”

Commending the state police for maintainin­g law and order in the state, he said, “It is because of good law and order situation that the state offers a suitable environmen­tal for tourism and industries.”

Gen Rawat said, “To promote tourism in the border areas we are planning to push the inner line. This will also help in the developmen­t of those areas.”

He asked the state police to increase the police check posts in the border areas.

“Those check points can come along with army and the ITBP posts along the IndiaChina border,” he said.

Data released by the Uttarakhan­d migration commission in July last year mentioned that over 215,000 people had returned to their homes in Uttarakhan­d during the Covid-19 epidemic.

In May last year, as a strategy to retain the migrants who returned to the state during the lockdown, then chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had inaugurate­d Mukhyamant­ri Swarojgar Yojana (MSY), aimed at providing self-employment opportunit­ies to youth and ensuring reverse migration. It was launched with a focus on the thousands of migrants who returned to their homes in the state during lockdown so as to provide them with a livelihood by providing them subsidised loans for starting their own venture under MSME sector. There are about 150 works that have been included under the programme by the government which includes starting a restaurant to animal farming.

Migration from the border areas of the state is not a good thing for national security. GENERAL BIPIN RAWAT, Chief of Defence Staff

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