India has not yet detected any case of the ‘Pirola’ variant of Covid – the new one which is driving a resurgence of cases in the USA, UK and even China – and has upped surveillance, senior Health Ministry officials told businessline.

Testing at airports are currently not being carried out, and there is no significant rise in Covid cases in the country, or an upsurge in hospitalisations. Death due to Covid is also not significant, and “mostly negligible”.

Ahead of the G20, arrangements have also been made to carry out testing, while hospitals have checked and got their ICU facilities readied.

Surveillance on

“As of now, the surveillance and testing at airports are discontinued. But patient surveillance and sentinel surveillance is on. Patient data collection, testing and studies to isolate variants are already on,” the official said.

Sentinel surveillance refers to the monitoring of rate of occurrence of specific diseases or conditions through a voluntary network of doctors, laboratories and public health departments with a view to assess the stability or change in health levels of a population.

INSACOG had carried out a review meeting last week. Members present there sought for increased sewerage testing for early and effective detection of new variants; and timely precautionary measures.

“No Pirola cases have been detected in India as of yet. We have identified and isolated Eris or EG.5 sub-variants of Omicron in some places like Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka which is around two-three per cent. But the numbers remain low. Nearly 90 - 95 per cent of the cases detected and isolated in India are of the XBB variants,” the official said.

‘No cause of worry’

“With hospitalisations remaining low, there is no cause of worry at the moment. We are keeping an eye on the situation,” he added.

Incidentally, there have been some concerns over Covid spread in recent times as reports of a new variant -’ Pirola’ or BA2.86 – have come in. The spread has been high in the United States of America. According to a report by Yale Medicine, the new variant has over 30 mutations, which may lead to an increase in cases of Covid.

On a 24-hour basis, India reported 66 cases of Covid with active cases being 491. There was one death being reported due to Covid; while 32,420 tests were carried out across the country.