Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday asked health officials to boost the monitoring and surveillance of new coronavirus variants in the country.

The minister had conducted a review meeting with health experts and officials on the new XE variant of coronavirus.

“He [Mansukh Mandaviya] further emphasised that the ongoing vaccination drive must be carried out at full pace and all eligible should be vaccinated,” the ministry said in a statement.

Mandaviya has also asked the officials to continuously review the availability of essential drugs and medicines needed to treat Covid-19, the statement added.

India’s first case of coronavirus variant XE was detected in Mumbai on April 6, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said. However, the Union Health Ministry said that the variant is of a different genetic composition than XE.

On Saturday, Gujarat said it had detected a case of coronavirus variant XE. Additional Chief Secretary Manoj Aggarwal said that the variant was found in a 67-year-old man who had travelled to Vadodara from Mumbai. The man had tested positive for the coronavirus disease on March 12.

Found first in the United Kingdom on January 19, the XE variant is a mix – or recombinant – of the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 strains. The variant could have emerged when a patient was infected with both strains at the same time.