Russia records first cases of Indian COVID variant

The Indian variant has been classified by WHO as the 'variant of global concern'


Reuters May 13, 2021
A man receives a dose of the EpiVacCorona vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia, at a local clinic in Saint Petersburg, Russia April 12, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Russia has recorded its first cases of the variant of COVID-19 first found in India, Kommersant newspaper reported on Thursday, citing authorities in the Ulyanovsk region.

The regional branch of consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said it had recorded 16 cases of the variant among Indian students at Ulyanovsk State University, some 700 kilometres (435 miles) east of Moscow.

Dilyar Khakimov, an official at the watchdog, told Kommersant that the students had been put in self-isolation and were under medical observation.

Read more: Russia considers supplying 1 million vaccine shots to Armenia

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova had previously said the country had not recorded any cases of the variant.

The World Health Organization said on Monday that the coronavirus variant first identified in India last year was being classified as a variant of global concern, with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.

India is in deep crisis in the current wave of COVID-19 infections with around 350,000 cases and 4,000 deaths being reported daily. 

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