As Tamil Nadu reports first death from COVID-19 Delta Plus variant, Centre issues advisory to contain spread

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Tamil Nadu, on Saturday, registered the first death due to the Delta plus variant of Sars-Cov-2 (COVID-19) after a patient from Madurai succumbed to the infection, according to the state health department. 

Now, amid growing concerns, the Centre has advised the Tamil Nadu government to take immediate measures to contain the spread of Delta plus variant of the COVID-19 virus in Madurai, Chennai, and Kanchipuram districts where the variant has been found.

In a letter to Chief Secretary V.Irai Anbu, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said INSACOG — a Consortium of Laboratories for whole-genome sequencing in the context of COVID-19 pandemic, has intimated that the Delta plus variant is a Variant of Concern (VOC) and suggested immediate measures to contain the spread.- 

According to Bhushan, the variant has the characteristics of increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.

Bhushan said the public health response in this case while broadly remaining the same, has to become more focused and stringent.

He asked the Tamil Nadu Government to take up immediate containment measures in these districts and clusters including preventing crowds and intermingling of people besides widespread testing from tracing as well as vaccination coverage on a priority basis.

The Union Health Secretary has also asked the state government to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are sent promptly to the designated laboratories of INSACOG so that the clinical epidemiological correlations can be established.

The Tamil Nadu government on Friday while extending the lockdown till July 5, has also relaxed several restrictions effective from June 28.

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