Headlines December 31, 2020
More Covid mutant strains reported, India increases testing
India has recorded 14 fresh cases of new coronavirus mutant strain. This was first reported in the United Kingdom in September. This has taken the total number of cases to 20.
The new strain is said to spread much faster and has sparked off new global fears. Fresh travel restrictions have been imposed after the UK said earlier this month the virus was out of control.
The Centre had earlier said that six patients were infected with the strain. Of the 20 cases of fresh strain, eight have been registered by a Delhi lab. A Bengaluru lab has recorded seven cases. The numbers are likely to rise. But doctors have said there is no reason yet to believe that it is more dangerous or will not be controlled by a vaccine.
Last week, India had temporarily banned flights from the UK. 33,000 passengers, who have arrived from the UK between 25 November and 23 December are being traced, the government has said.
“It is easy to suppress the virus in the starting. Once the transmission is too widespread, it is hard to control,” said Dr VK Paul, a member of Niti Aayog.
On Monday, details were released of the genomic surveillance consortium- INSACOG, which has been formed to detect the presence of different strains of coronavirus in the country. Ten laboratories across the country will be carrying out genome sequencing.
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