INDORE: With Madhya Pradesh reporting five cases of the 'Delta plus' variant of COVID-19 so far, a top health department official on Thursday said the vaccines currently being administered to people are effective against the highly contagious strain.
Delta plus has already been declared a variant of concern by the Centre.
Madhya Pradesh is among a handful of states where the cases of 'Delta plus' variant have been found.
"Among the five people found infected with the Delta plus variant, three are already vaccinated and even after getting affected with the new varaint, there was no need for them to rush to hospital, which means the vaccine is effective against it (the new variant) also," additional chief secretary (health) Mohammad Suleiman told reporters.
He quoted an official of the Delhi-based National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as saying that the Delta plus variant's severity is comparatively more (than existing strains), but at present there are not many cases of this variant in the country.
Therefore, it is not possible to predict what will be its impact on the population, Suleiman said, quoting the NCDC official.
The state is on alert and testing will be enhanced to know whether people are getting infected by the 'Delta plus' variant, Suleiman said.
Madhya Pradesh is among the five states where genome sequencing facilities will be started by the NCDC, the senior bureaucrat said.
This decision followed chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's discussions with NCDC officials, he said.
Suleiman said people are enthusiastic about getting vaccines and those residing in tribal areas are also coming forward to receive doses.
Expressing happiness over Indore vaccinating a record 2.25 lakh people on Monday, he said, "If we are able to arrange adequate stock of vaccines, then the entire eligible population of Indore district can be inoculated by mid-July."
He informed the state government has set a target to administer at least the first dose to all eligible people by September-end.
The state on Thursday added 62 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 fresh deaths, pushing its infection tally to 7,89,561 and the toll to 8,849, the state health department said.
Of total 52 districts in the state, 31 districts did not record any new coronavirus case in the last 24 hours, it stated.
A total of 255 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the count of recoveries in Madhya Pradesh to 7,79,432, the department said.
The number of active cases in the state stands at 1,280, it said.
With 10 new cases, Indore's caseload went up to 1,52,798, while that of Bhopal rose to 1,23,073 with the addition of 15 infections.
Indore reported one death, taking the toll to 1379, while no fatality was reported in Bhopal, whose coronavirus toll remained unchanged at 972, the department said.
Indore is left with 239 active cases, while Bhopal has 362 patients under treatment, it said.
With 68,453 new tests, the total number of samples examined for coronavirus in Madhya Pradesh rose to 1,16,66,850, the department said.
Coronavirus figures in MP are as follows: Total cases 7,89,561, new cases 62, death toll 8,849, recovered 7,79,432, active cases 1,280, number of tests so far 1,16,66,850.