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The government will increase the number of genome sequencing for COVID-19 in view of the new coronavirus strain that was first detected in the United Kingdom, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Tuesday.

"An important development is the establishment of INSACOG which is a consortium of 10 government labs to do genome sequencing of the Sars (COVID-19) virus or any variant of that virus. These labs belong to ICMR, BioTech India, CSIR and Health Ministry," Bhushan said in a press conference here.

"Prior to the news of the UK variant, we had done roughly 5,000 genome sequences across labs. Now, we will be significantly increasing that number and would be working in a coordinated manner in the shape of a consortium," he said.

The Union Health Secretary said that daily new COVID-19 cases are less than 17,000 after 6 months now. "Active cases in the country are less than 2.7 lakhs and are declining. Positivity rate in the country during the last week stood at only 2.25$ while the cumulative rate is 6.02%."

"In a landmark achievement, daily new COVID-19 cases are less than 17,000 after 6 months now. Daily deaths are also less than 300 after 6 months. 55% deaths are found to have occured in 60 years and above age group and 70% of the deaths have occurred to males," Bhushan added.

The health secretary said that 63% of total COVID cases were reported in males and 37% cases in females.

"If we analyse COVID-19 cases on the basis of gender, 63% of total cases were reported in males and 37% cases in females. Age-wise, 8% cases reported below the age of 17 years, 13% in the 18-25 years age group, 39% in the 26-44 years age group, 26% in the 45-60 years group and 14% above 60 years," he said.

With 16,432 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, India has reported a total of 1,02,24,303 cases so far, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) informed on Tuesday.

As many as 24,900 recoveries and 252 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours. The total number of active cases stands at 2,68,581 while the total recoveries are at 98,07,569, while the total death toll has reached 1,48,153, the Ministry said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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