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The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said that new coronavirus variants were not responsible for an upsurge in cases in the states of Maharashtra and Kerala, based on the evidence currently available.

The ministry today reviewed the Covid-19 situation in the country amid the surging cases, especially in states like Maharashtra, Kerala etc.

Speaking on a routine press briefing, Secretary, Health Ministry Rajesh Bhushan informed that there are still two states that have 75% active cases -Kerala and Maharashtra. Kerala has 38% of the total active cases of the country while Maharashtra has 37% of the total active cases. Karnataka has 4% and Tamil Nadu has 2.78% active cases.

Moreover, NITI Aayog member V K Paul said that fresh outbreak in Kerala and Maharashtra are being examined for new mutations. He also informed that South African Covid-19 variant was found in 6 people while Brazil variant found in 1 person. For the UK strain of the virus, Paul informed that a total of 187 individuals were detected with the mutation in the country.

There are two variants in Maharashtra being talked about - N440 K variant and E484 K variant. Yes, these variants are there in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana, Pual said.

"Based on information available to us, yes these variants are there but there's no reason today for us to believe, on basis of scientific information, that these are responsible for the upsurge of the outbreak that you see in some distrcits of Maharashtra and Kerala," the NITI Aayog member added.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra recorded the highest number of 5,210 new cases, followed by Kerala (2,212) and Tamil Nadu (449), according to the health bulletin released Tuesday morning.

Also, six states accounted for 84.62 per cent of the fresh fatalities. Maharashtra reported 18 deaths, followed by Kerala with 16 and Punjab 15, the ministry said.

Highlighting the country's vaccination drive, which started on 16 January, 2021, the official said over 1.17 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country, including 1.04 crore first doses and 12.61 lakh second doses.



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