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The mutant strain of the novel coronavirus identified in the UK may already be present in several countries, the World Health Organisation has said. It, however, also said it was still too early to draw conclusions about the new strain that it was "unlikely that a couple of mutations" could affect the immune system's response to one of the existing Covid vaccines.
The new coronavirus variant discovered in Britain with a higher transmission rate is not yet out of control and can be contained using existing measures, the WHO said on Monday. "We have had a much higher (contamination rate) at different points in this pandemic and we've got it under control," WHO's emergencies chief Michael Ryan has said. “So this situation is not in that sense out of control. But it cannot be left to its own devices.”
In India, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala remained the worst-hit states, though others like Delhi, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh also reported high number of fresh cases in the past 24 hours.
Maharashtra on Monday imposed an 11 pm-6 am curfew till January 5 in Mumbai and other cities, and announced new quarantine rules for arrivals from the Europe and Middle East, in view of the new coronavirus strain emerging in the UK. Passengers from European or west Asia will be sent to 14-day institutional quarantine, the government said. The Brihanmumbai municipal chief said around 1,000 people are expected to arrive in five flights landing till midnight December 22, when the centre's ban on incoming flights from the UK takes effect.
Authorities in Delhi have surveyed over 1.72 crore residents so far for coronavirus-like symptoms to assess the spread of the infection and found that just over 39,500 had cough, fever and other indicators of the viral disease, officials said Monday. The national capital on Monday recorded 803 fresh COVID-19 cases, the lowest since August 17, even as the number of active cases dropped below the 10,000-mark.
Left Democratic Front councillor Jayachandran Nair, elected from a ward in Thiruvananthapuram, was on Monday sworn in wearing a PPE kit as he had tested COVID-19 positive. His swearing in ceremony took place after all other members were sworn in. The Thiruvananthapuram corporation has up to 100 councillors.
The Odisha government has fixed the maximum cost for Rapid Antigen Test conducted by private laboratories at Rs 100 (inclusive GST) within the state.
The US on Monday surpassed 18 million reported Covid-19 cases, figures from Johns Hopkins University showed. It has the world's highest absolute number of cases (18,006,061) as well as the most deaths related to the virus (319,000).
US President-elect Joe Biden received a Covid-19 vaccine live on television Monday in a campaign to boost Americans' confidence in the jabs. The 78-year-old incoming president got the Pfizer vaccine at the Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware. His wife Jill received the shot earlier, the presidential transition team said.
Interpol chief Juergen Stock predicted on Monday a sharp rise in crimes with robbers seeking to get their hands on precious vaccines aimed at stopping the coronavirus pandemic. "We will see thefts and warehouse break-ins and attacks on vaccine shipments," Stock told business weekly WirtschaftsWoche. The secretary general of the France-based global policing agency said he also expected more cases of graft related to Covid-19 vaccines.