Coronavirus India Updates: India Reports Nearly 24,000 New Cases Amid Mutant Threat
A health worker with a rapid Covid-19 test in India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Coronavirus India Updates: India Reports Nearly 24,000 New Cases Amid Mutant Threat

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As active coronavirus cases in India continue their downward trend, threats of a new mutant Covid strain from the U.K. has led to new restrictions across a number of cities and states.

India reported nearly 24,000 fresh infections in 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry’s update at 8 a.m. on Dec. 23, adding to the 1 crore tally that it crossed on Saturday.

That’s higher than the 19,556 cases reported yesterday, but still a significant improvement from the daily tally of nearly 1 lakh reported in mid-September.

Active cases, as a result, have fallen under the 2.9-lakh mark.

Key Figures

  • Total number of confirmed coronavirus cases: 1,00,99,066
  • Active cases: 2,89,240
  • Cured/discharged/migrated: 96,63,382
  • Deaths: 1,46,444
  • Number of fresh cases in 24 hours: 23,950
  • One-day recoveries: 26,895
  • One-day deaths: 333

Also read: Leading Indian Vaccine Maker Readies for ‘Uphill’ Roll Out

Pandemic Reaches Antarctica, Last Untouched Continent

The pandemic has finally reached every continent on Earth. Chilean authorities announced that 58 people that were at two military bases in Antarctica or on a navy ship that went to the continent tested positive for the new coronavirus.

So far no other country with a presence in Antarctica has publicly reported any other cases.


States Issue SOPs For Passengers From U.K.

The Maharashtra government has come out with a standard operating protocol for dealing with passengers arriving from Europe, South Africa and the Middle-East amid concerns over the detection of a new variant of coronavirus in the UK.

"All the officials and staff of the airport should be made aware that all passengers coming from the above areas should be considered to be harboring the new strain of virus and should be handled in that manner," a government circular said on Monday.

The Odisha and Chhattisgarh government also asked authorities concerned to undertake mandatory screening of persons with travel history to the United Kingdom.

After the Maharashtra government on Monday declared night curfew in municipal corporation areas in the state, the Pune police imposed curfew in the city from Tuesday night. It will be in force between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from the night of Dec. 22 to Jan. 5, said the order issued by Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and order) Ravindra Shisave.

The Delhi government on Tuesday said people who have arrived here from the U.K. recently are being traced and tested, while an institutional quarantine facility is being set up for positive cases at the LNJP Hospital. All passengers arriving from the U.K. are being tested for Covid-19 at the Delhi airport, Health Minister Satyendar Jain told reporters.

Virus Arrivals

At least 20 passengers from the U.K. tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday as the government issued a stringent set of SOPs mandating RT-PCR tests at airports for each traveller from the country and isolation in a separate unit of an institutional facility for positive cases in view of the new coronavirus strain.

There is no need to panic but there is cause to be more vigilant, said NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr. VK Paul.

As many as 591 passengers landed in Mumbai in three flights from the U.K. on Tuesday, a civic official said, adding none of them has been found symptomatic so far.

Global Update

The new Covid-19 strain that emerged in the U.K. is possibly already in the U.S., Germany, France and Switzerland, officials in those countries said. A wider swath of the U.K. would be ordered into a more-severe lockdown under a plan being considered by government officials intent on halting the spread of the pandemic.

Pfizer Inc. is moving closer to finalizing a deal to supply the U.S. government with as many as 100 million more doses of the drugmaker’s coronavirus vaccine, according to a person familiar with the matter. Its partner BioNTech SE’s chief executive officer said its shot will probably work against the new virus strain.

Globally, over 77.9 million cases have been detected while over 1.7 million people have died.
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