HighlightsIndia has over 2.31 lakh active cases of coronavirus
Government has imposed strict restrictions to check spread of new stain
India’s Covid tally has surged to 1,03,56,844New Delhi:
As India logged 16,375 fresh COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours – lowest in the country since June 25 (16,922) – the total number of new UK strain cases rose to 58. Twenty new cases were detected at Pune’s National Institute of Virology – one of the 10 labs conducting genome sequencing of Covid swabs, the government said. As the coronavirus tally rose to 1,03,56,844, up to 201 people died of Covid pushing the overall deaths to 1.49 lakh. Around 29,000 people – almost double of new infections – also recovered. With this, country’s active cases continued their downward spiral touching 2.31 lakh. Here are the top 10 developments on COVID-19 in the world:
Even as India’s daily Covid case count remained under 20,000 infections, Kerala reported its first six cases of the UK coronavirus strain taking its overall count in India to 58. Nineteen cases have been detected in two Delhi labs doing genome sequencing, 1 in Kolkata, 25 in Pune, 3 in Hyderabad and 10 in Bengaluru. Till now, all known cases are among UK returnees or their primary contacts; they are in institutional quarantine.
To check its spread, India has imposed strict screening, testing and quarantine measures for all international travellers, especially those returning from the United Kingdom.
In Tamil Nadu’s Chennai, another luxury hotel became a Covid cluster as 20 of its resident staff members tested positive. On Sunday, the novel coronavirus was detected in 85 employees of the ITC Grand Chola, their family and neighbours.
Maharashtra, Kerala and Chhattisgarh emerged as the country’s worst hit states with almost 4,800, 3,000 and 1,100 fresh infections. The daily case count has dropped drastically across states with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka emerging a distant fourth and fifth with about 800 and 600 cases, respectively.
A similar drop in daily deaths is also being seen across states. In an indication of the improving situation, Maharashtra – which has highest overall Covid-related deaths – continued to log the most day-on-day fatalities which was 29. At its peak, this number was around 500 for the state.
In UK, to cut spiralling infection that could “overwhelm the state-run National Health Service within 21 days”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a full coronavirus lockdown, possibly until mid-February. The country has started vaccinating its frontline workers.
However, scientists are not fully confident that vaccines will work on the South Africa variant as it has multiple mutations in the important “spike” protein the virus uses to infect human cells. But, John Bell, regius professor of medicine at University of Oxford, said if the vaccine did not work on the South African variant the shots could be adapted in “a month or six weeks”.
BioNTech and partner Pfizer have warned that they had no evidence that their jointly developed vaccine will continue to protect against COVID-19 if the booster shot is given later than tested in trials. Germany was considering whether to allow a delay in administering the second dose to make scarce supplies go further after a similar move by Britain.
As the novel coronavirus and its mutations rage on across the world, threatening mankind’s attempts to return to pre-Covid normalcy, China – the country where the virus first originated in December 2019 – refuted the US charge that it was leaked from a bio lab. China has asserted that the pandemic was likely to have been caused by separate outbreaks in multiple places in the world.
The remarks came amidst reports that a ten-member team of the World Health Organisation scientists would visit China this month to probe the origin of the coronavirus. Beijing remains silent about granting permission for WHO team to visit Wuhan city in central China.