As Maharashtra continues to grapple with the prevailing Covid situation, twenty one cases of the "Delta plus" variant of COVID-19, considered highly infectious, has been reported in the state.
Health Minister Rajesh Tope the highest nine cases were reported in Ratnagiri, followed by seven in Jalgaon, two in Mumbai, and one case each in Palghar, Thane and Sindhudurg districts.
He said 7,500 samples from different parts of the state were collected and sent for laboratory testing. These samples were collected since May 15 and their genome sequencing was done.
Tope said complete information about the people detected with the "Delta plus" variant is being sought, including their travel history, whether they were vaccinated or not, and if they were reinfected.
Their contacts are being traced and tested, the minister said, adding that information on the mutation of Delta and Delta plus variants is also being scrutinised.
The newly identified 'Delta plus' variant may trigger a third wave of the pandemic in the state, the health department had noted.
The new Delta plus variant has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta or B.1.617.2 variant, was first identified in India.