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India reports 14 fresh cases of new UK coronavirus strain, total 20 cases so far

Passengers wearing protective face masks leave upon arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport after India cancelled all flights from the UK. (REUTERS)Premium
Passengers wearing protective face masks leave upon arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport after India cancelled all flights from the UK. (REUTERS)

  • With 14 more cases of a mutant strain of coronavirus in India, the authorities said today morning that 20 patients have been infected so far
  • Of the total cases, eight are from the national capital

India on Wednesday recorded 14 cases of a mutant strain of coronavirus, which is 70% more transmissible, and has prompted a wave of panic and border closures around the world.

With 14 more cases in India, the authorities said today morning that 20 patients have been infected with the mutant strain, which was first reported in the United Kingdom in September, so far.

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Of the total cases of new mutant coronavirus strain, eight are from the national capital.

The fresh 20 cases include six persons reported earlier (three in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune). Around 107 samples were tested in the 10 labs as indicated in the table below.

107 samples tested in 10 labs in India.
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107 samples tested in 10 labs in India.

The country on Tuesday recorded six cases of the new UK virus. All six recently returned from Britain. Three samples in NIMHANS of Bengaluru, two in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune have been detected out of all the samples tested, as per a government statement.

The six infected ones have been kept in isolation, the health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. "Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine," the statement read.

India's vaccine can offer protection against new UK virus

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate Covaxin can offer protection against new strain of Covid-19 found in the UK, chairman and managing director Krishna Ella has said.

Developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology, the vaccine against the novel coronavirus is in phase III clinical trial in the country.

"It (coronavirus) is expected to have a lot of mutation and you can be rest assured this vaccine will also protect against that (mutated) virus because of two hypotheses... "So you have these two components in the inactivated vaccine. It will also take care of those mutations," Ella said.

Meanwhile, health authorities expect to start a Covid-19 vaccination drive in the country for some 300 million people early next month.

The country is likely to approve the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University for emergency use after its local manufacturer submitted additional data sought by authorities, news agency Reuters reported.

Suspension of UK flights may be extended

India had already suspended all flights from the UK until the end of the month, which is likely to extend beyond 31 December, the Indian government hinted on Tuesday.

The suspension of flights was announced last week to curtail the spread of the new strain of Covid-19 that was detected in the UK a few days ago.

Around 33,000 passengers had flown in from late November before the ban came into place, the health ministry has said.

Of those who arrived in India, 114 people were found positive for Covid-19 and their samples are being checked for the new UK variant, which has been detected across parts of Europe and Asia, the ministry said.

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