Delta variant: BBMP to take up genome sequencing of 5% of samples

With cases of the new Delta variant of COVID-19 being detected in Maharashtra and Kerala, the BBMP is now banking on genome sequencing to ascertain if the variant is detected in the city. BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta on Tuesday announced that the civic body will take up genome sequencing of 5% of samples that have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Though there is no restriction on inter-State travel as per the Centre’s guidelines, we have been insisting on RT-PCR tests for those coming to the city from other States,” he said.

Civic officials had been directed to keep a close watch on wards with higher positivity rate. “The city’s positivity rate is around 2%. In wards with higher positivity rate, officials have been directed to intensify home visits and contact tracing, monitoring those under home isolation, among other things,” he addedOn the topic of schools reopening, Mr. Gupta said that in his personal opinion, it was time to be cautious. “Though the cases among children have not seen a drastic increase during the second wave, citizens must take care and mandatorily adhere to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour,” he said.

The city was leading in terms of vaccinations administered. Already, 63% of those above 45 years and 42% of those 18-44 years have been covered by at least one dose. “No other city or state in the country has achieved this,” he added.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa flagged off three mobile vaccine vans earlier in the day. These vaccine vans will make rounds in the city and distribute vaccines. A single van can carry eight vaccine boxes/ six syringe boxes; nearly 9,000 doses of vaccine can be transported in a single trip. The vans will not only distribute vaccines across Bengaluru but will also collect swab samples for COVID-19 testing as they are backed by ICMR-approved mobile testing lab built by Shanmukha Innovations. The initiative has been launched in partnership with Parexel, Flowserve, Keysight and United Way Bengaluru.

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