Infections from the new strain have been detected international travellers, primarily UK returnees, and their primary contacts; they are in institutional quarantine, the government has said. The country has also started conducting genome sequencing of 5 per cent of all local COVID-19 samples to check for local coronavirus mutations.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled his visit to India, hours after he announced a fresh lockdown in the United Kingdom over the new strain of coronavirus that has affected thousands of people in the UK. Mr Johnson was to be the chief guest at this year's Republic Day parade in New Delhi.
United Kingdom recorded more than 60,000 COVID-19 cases in daily figures for the first time on Tuesday. The news is another reminder of the severity of the crisis as England and Scotland started a new COVID-19 lockdown that could last until mid-February.
Despite the threat of air passengers from UK bringing the new strain of the coronavirus, India partially resumed air travel with the country with 30 flights per week. While flights from the UK would only start January 8, India to UK service started today.
The inoculation exercise in India is expected to start anytime within a week to 10 days, the government has indicated. For this, the country is working on automated allocation of vaccination session via the CoWIN app, the health ministry has said. The Aadhaar card would be used for authentication and to prevent malpractice. A QR code based vaccination certificate will be issued after all the doses are given and people can store it in their mobile phone.
The government said multiple dry runs have been held to test the software in the field at various stages of its development. It said over 90,000 people in 700 districts have been trained to use the software.
An Indian study on the air-borne nature of coronavirus has shown that the virus can be so for a short time, but preventive measures like wearing masks can keep one safe. The scientists worked with hospitals in Hyderabad and Chandigarh to find if the virus particles can be found in air samples in the hospital wards.
Despite German firm BioNTech warnings that there was no data backing the "safety and efficacy" of doing so, the World Health Organisation vaccine advisory group said the second jab could, in exceptional circumstances, be administered a few weeks beyond the recommended 21-28 days.
WHO chief, meanwhile, has expressed disappointment that has still not authorised the entry of a team of international experts to examine the origins of the coronavirus. The 10-strong team had been due to set off in early January. Two members of the team had already set out; one has been turned back and the other is in transit in a third country. Beijing has been seeking to shape the narrative about when and where the pandemic began, with senior diplomat Wang Yi saying "more and more studies" showed that it emerged in multiple regions. The claim has been called "highly speculative".
Meanwhile, the Grammy music awards slated for January 31 in Los Angeles have been postponed until March over Covid-19, which has been rapidly spreading in California. The Oscars meanwhile are due to take place April 25, eight weeks later than previously scheduled. The US - world's world hit country has 2.1 crore coronavirus cases with 3.6 lakh deaths.
New Delhi: The number of people who have tested positive for the new UK variant of COVID-19 in the country has climbed to 73, the government said on Wednesday. India's coronavirus tally rose to 1,03,74,932 with 18,088 new COVID-19 infections - 10 per cent higher than Tuesday's. Total Covid-related deaths touched 1.5 lakh with 264 deaths over the past day when at least 21,314 people recovered from the disease. With this, active cases have come down to 2,27,546 - around 2 per cent of the total caseload - as recoveries neared the one-crore mark.