14 extra from UK carrying new pressure

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30

India on Wednesday banned flights from the UK till January 7 after the mutant strain was reported in 14 more UK returnees, taking the total number of people with the variant virus to 20.

Six passengers were found Covid positive with the new strain on Tuesday.

A total of 107 positive samples of passengers who recently arrived from the UK have been tested so far. Of them, 20 have the variant virus. They have all been isolated.

The Centre has also written to states and UTs to consider imposing night curfew on December 31 and January 1 to prevent super-spreading events and crowding.

After the number of cases with the new strain went up today, Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri announced that the temporary flight ban from the UK had been extended from December 31 till January 7.

The government is, meanwhile, stepping up surveillance for the new UK variant of the Covid-19 virus, which is 70 per cent more infective than the previous strain.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in his letter to state counterparts said while inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods would continue, the states “may impose night curfew on December 30, December 31 and January 1 to prevent super-spreading events and crowding in the wake of the New Year celebrations.”

Of the 20 persons found with the mutant strain, eight samples were detected positive at the National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi; seven at NIMHANS, Bengaluru; two at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and one each at accredited labs under the Indian SARS-CoV2 Genomics Consortium.

Meanwhile, the daily recoveries have been outnumbering the new cases for 33 days. In the last 24 hours, there were 20,549 fresh cases and 26,572 recoveries.

Of the total 1,02, 44, 852 cases, 98, 34, 141 have recovered, taking the national cure rate to 95.99 per cent. Globally, India’s cases per million are among the lowest at 7,423 (the US figure is 57, 319).

The toll has risen to 1,48,439 after 286 deaths in a day.

UK clears Oxford vax

The UK on Wednesday became the first country to approve the Oxford University-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine. Indian regulators will meet on January 1 to take a call on it. The project’s Indian partner Serum Institute of India has already applied for emergency use authorisation. world

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