B.1.617 Covid mutant found in 20% of samples in Chhattisgarh: Health minister

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday that in Chattisgarh, the B.1.617 of Covid-19 (called double mutant) has been found in 20% of the samples during genome sequencing. He added that since March, Chhattisgarh has recorded a high positivity rate and since May a high number of Covid-19 fatalities have also been recorded.

“In genome sequencing, in 20% of the samples we found presence of B.1.617 mutant,” said Vardhan during a video conference with health ministers of nine states and Union territories.

The health minister also flagged Himachal Pradesh for recording a whopping number of 35,000 active cases with sample positivity rate of 9.5%. Vardhan said mass gatherings like marriage ceremonies, religious gatherings, local elections, and complacency regarding Covid norms have been highlighted as the cause behind the sudden spike.

“In Himachal Pradesh, there are 35,000 active cases, sample positivity is 9.57%. In the past week, Kangra, Mandi, Solan, Shimla and Hamirpur have shown a surge in cases,” he said during the conference.

Vardhan also identified Goa as an area of concern with 22,000 active cases and a fatality rate of 1.59%. The state also has four cases of mucormycosis or black fungus and the patients are currently being treated at Goa Medical College.

The health minister emphasised that country-wide vaccination efforts need to be ramped up and whichever vaccine is available will have to be administered to people.

“I’d like to emphasise that we need to step up Covid vaccination. Whichever vaccines are available to us, we have to give them as fast as possible. In the coming months, there’ll be a significant increase in production capacity in the country,” Vardhan said.

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