CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan on Sunday issued directions for aggressive testing and contact tracing to check the spread of Delta Plus, a highly infectious variant of COVID-19.
Two cases of Delta Plus variant have been reported from Ludhiana and Patiala districts of the state.
The Delta Plus variant has increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.
Chairing a meeting of the Covid response group here, the chief secretary said a proposal regarding the installation of a whole genome sequencing machine at Government Medical College in Patiala will be taken up by the Medical Education and Research Department and the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC).
Reviewing the state's efforts to thwart the much-anticipated third wave of the pandemic, Mahajan said a draft policy is being prepared to tackle any more possible wave of the infection, according to an official release.
She also said the ICMR has approved dry swab testing and the state is going to test this method on a trial basis on 1,000 samples.
The chief secretary asked the health authorities to closely monitor the districts with high positivity rate, besides directing district epidemiologists to further identify pockets which are reporting higher numbers of cases within their respective districts, the release said.