Maharashtra government on Thursday announced a series of harsh measures for Akola, Yavatmal and Amravati districts to curb the COVID-19 spread.
Yavatmal and Amravati - the last two districts have reported new virus strains. However, the genome sequencing of the samples did not show the UK, South African or Brazilian strains of the virus.
The Collectors of Akola, Yavatmal and Amravati have been directed to declare areas with high incidence of Covid-19 cases in their jurisdictions as "containment zones".
In the past one week, both Yavatmal and Amravati have shown a sharp rise in new COVID-19 cases.
The genome sequencing was conducted on 24 samples -- four each from Amravati, Yavatmal and Satara and 12 from Pune, Dr Rajesh Karyekarte, said Head of Department of Microbiology at the state-run B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital.
"We were asked by the state government to conduct genome sequencing of samples. The D614G strain which is prevalent was found in all the samples," he said.
"In Amravati, we came across a mutation named E484K in all the four samples. When we inquired if all samples belonged to one family, we were told they were taken from different locations, so the conclusion was that it was a common mutation," he said.
In Yavatmal samples, they found a mutation named N440K. In Satara sample, a new mutation named V911I was found but the researchers could not find significant scientific references about this mutation in published journals.
All these strains are of A2 type of coronavirus, which is common in India. Maharashtra on Thursday reported over 5,000 new cases after a gap of 75 days.s.
The Amravati district administration on Thursday announced a weekend lockdown in Amravati. The lockdown will be implemented from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on Monday, a period during which markets and other establishments will remain shut.