Coronavirus India Highlights: The Health Ministry in its daily briefing on Tuesday said that all international passengers who have arrived in India during last 14 days between 9th and 22nd December, if symptomatic and tested positive will be subjected to genome sequencing, in view of the new COVID-19 strain in the United Kingdom. Six passengers who had arrived in India from the UK have tested positive for the mutant strain of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday. The Union Health Ministry said three patients were in Bengaluru, two in Hyderabad and one in Pune. All the patients are in isolation in private single rooms at state government facilities.
“Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on,” the government said in a statement. The variant has so far been detected in Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.
Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Tuesday said he foresees a slight extension of temporary suspension of passenger flights between India and the UK, where a new variant of the coronavirus has been detected. The Civil Aviation Ministry had last week suspended all flights between that country and India from December 23 to December 31 over the mutated variant of the virus. “I foresee a slight extension of temporary suspension of India-UK flights,” the minister said at a press conference.
India reported 16,432 new Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours ending 8 am Tuesday, taking the country’s tally to 1,02,24,303. This is the lowest increase in daily cases in six months, since June 23. Of the total, only 2.68 lakh are active cases. Over 98 lakh have recovered from the disease. With 252 additional deaths reported on Monday, the death toll now stands at over 1.48 lakh.
On the vaccine front, the regulatory approval for Covishield, the Indian variant of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, could come in a few days, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, said.