On Thursday, the Union Health Ministry has said that five new cases of the new coronavirus strain have been detected taking the total case count to 25. “About 25 cases of mutant United Kingdom virus have been confirmed in India following genome sequencing. Four new cases found by NIV, Pune and one new case sequenced in IGIB, Delhi. All 25 are in physical isolation at health facilities,” a health ministry official told news agencies.
Reportedly, the National Institute of Virology in Pune has marked four out of five cases and CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi has detected one. The positive patients have been placed in physical isolation at state health facilities.
On Wednesday, 14 new Covid strain cases were detected in Delhi. Nine cases were detected at labs in New Delhi, four in Bengaluru, and one in a West Bengal lab.
On Tuesday, six returnees from the UK tested positive for the new Covid-19 strain in India. Among those found infected by the new strain is a woman who had managed to give the authorities in New Delhi the slip and had reached Andhra Pradesh by train before being picked up. Around 33,000 passengers arrived from the UK between November 25 and December 23, and of them, 114 have tested Covid-19 positive.
UNITED KINGDOM IMPOSES MORE CURBS DESPITE VACCINATION
With the new Covid strain fast spreading across the country, the UK government has decided to impose strict Covid-19 restrictions to nearly 75% of its population ahead of New Year.
UK Prime Minister has said that Great Britain is at a “critical moment” in its fight against Covid-19. The country witnessed a single-day rise in deaths by 1,000 on Wednesday. “Sadly, yesterday, we recorded almost 1,000 deaths across the UK for the first time since April. At this critical moment, we have to redouble our efforts to contain the virus,” Johnson said at a press meeting.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that Tier 4 — the government’s top infection warning level — will be expanding beyond London and south-east to cover large swaths of central, northern and south-west England. Tier 4 level was imposed just ahead of New Year’s Eve. It means that people are advised to stay indoors. Restaurants and bars are allowed to offer only takeout. Non-essential shops must remain closed.
On Wednesday morning, the UK became the first country to clear the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. This is the second vaccine the country has cleared after Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in early December. Despite vaccination taking place in the UK, the Covid-19 strain has spread quickly throughout the United Kingdom. The government will begin administrating the Oxford vaccine by January 4.
Meanwhile, in India, the Drug Regulatory Authorities have requested more information from Serum Institute of India — Oxford-AstraZeneca’s partner in India — regarding the approval of emergency use for Covishield.
US NURSE TESTS POSITIVE AFTER RECEIVING PFIZER VACCINE
Matthew W, a 45-year-old ICU nurse in San Diego, California, has tested positive for Covid-19 after receiving the Pfizer vaccine on December 18.
“After receiving the vaccine, I only experienced arm soreness as a side-effect. However, six days later, I had chills, muscle pain and fatigue after working a shift in the Covid-19 unit,” Matthew told a new channel in San Diego. He decided to go for a Covid-19 test and the tests confirmed him being positive. However, experts believe that since only the first dose is administered so far, it will give only 50% protection. The second dose will you provide up to 95% protection.
AMERICAN MAN WITH NO TRAVEL HISTORY POSITIVE FOR NEW STRAIN
A man from Colorado in the United States has tested positive for the new coronavirus strain. However, interestingly, the man has no travel history leaving authorities puzzled as to how he got infected if he hasn’t travelled from outside the country. The man is said to be in his mid-20s and resides in a rural town outside Denver. The new strain may be spreading across the United States of America.
Experts believe that despite current vaccines working on the new strain, we must be cautious. As the rate of transmission increases, the virus will adapt and naturally mutate, and the new strain could be even more dangerous and possibly immune to the current vaccine. The authorities opine that while hope exists in the form of a vaccine, we must still give more priority to curbing transmission.