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India Reports 10,549 New Covid Cases, 15.6% Higher Than Yesterday

Covid cases in India: The daily rise in new cases has been below 20,000 for 49 straight days. (File)

New Delhi:

India added 10,549 new coronavirus cases and 488 fatalities in the last 24 hours, pushing the country’s cumulative cases to 3,45,55,431 while the death count climbed to 4,67,468, the health ministry said today.

Active cases in India now stand at 1,10,133, the lowest in 539 days, and comprises 0.32 per cent of total infections. The national recovery rate stands at 98.33 per cent, the highest since March 2020.

The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 20,000 for 49 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 152 consecutive days now.

India has administered over 120 crore Covid vaccine doses till date.

However several nations worldwide, including India, have expressed concern amid reports of a new Covid variant surfacing. Identified first in South Africa and already spreading to its neighbouring countries including Botswana, this variant has now been detected across the globe in Hong Kong as well, and is said to be much more infectious than the Delta variant, the “most heavily mutated” version of coronavirus discovered so far.

Here are the LIVE Updates on Coronavirus cases in India:

Italy bans visitors from southern Africa over new Covid variant

Italy joined Germany and Britain on a decision to ban entry of flights from southern Africa on Friday over reports of the “heavily mutated” new Covid variant, which was first detected in South Africa and has been rapidly spreading to neighbouring countries.

Italy said it was banning entry to those who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia or Swaziland in the past fortnight.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza said scientists were studying the new B.1.1.529 variant, “and in the meantime, we will follow the path of maximum caution”.

Italy’s decision comes amid independent considerations by the EU to ban flights from the southern African region as well.

Israel detects case of new Covid variant first found in South Africa
Israel has identified a case of a Covid-19 variant with a large number of mutations first detected in South Africa, the health ministry said Friday.

“The variant discovered in southern African states has been identified in Israel,” the health ministry said, adding it was recorded “in a person who returned from Malawi,” with “two more cases of people returning from abroad” placed in quarantine.

New Coronavirus Strain: Germany To Declare South Africa Virus Variant Area, Ban Most Travel
Germany will declare South Africa a virus variant area on Friday after the detection of a new COVID-19 variant there, a health ministry source said.

The decision, which will come into effect from Friday night, will mean airlines will be allowed to fly only Germans to Germany from South Africa, according to the source. Returning Germans, even those who are vaccinated, will then have to spend 14 days in quarantine.

Singapore to restrict arrivals from 7 African countries over new Covid variant
Singapore will restrict arrivals from seven African countries, health officials said Friday, after South Africa discovered a new Covid-19 variant with a large number of mutations.

All non-Singaporeans and people without permanent residency in the city-state who have recent travel history to the seven countries will be barred from entering or transiting through Singapore, the health ministry said.

The new restrictions, which will take effect from Sunday, apply to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, the ministry said.

WHO Meet Today To Assess ‘Most Heavily Mutated’ New COVID-19 Variant Detected In South Africa

WHO is monitoring the new Covid variant B.1.1.529 first detected in South Africa and will hold a “special meeting” today to discuss if the heavily mutated strain will become a variant of interest or a variant of concern, a top official said.

The latest variant is the most heavily mutated version discovered so far. First identified in South Africa at the start of this week, the strain has already spread to neighbouring countries, including Botswana, where it has been reportedly detected in fully vaccinated people.

The new variant has been red-flagged by scientists over an alarmingly high number of spike mutations that might make the virus more resistant to vaccines, increase its transmissibility and lead to more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Coronavirus Live Updates: New Covid Variant Has Unusually Large Number Of Mutations, Says World Health Organisation

World Health Organization officials met on Thursday to discuss a new coronavirus variant circulating in South Africa and Botswana.

The new variant, called B.1.1529, carries an unusually large number of mutations, Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute, said in a statement.

It’s likely to have evolved during a chronic infection of an immuno-compromised person, possibly in an untreated HIV/AIDS patient, he said.

“It is difficult to predict how transmissible it may be at this stage,” Mr Balloux added.

South Africa has detected 22 cases of the variant, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said in a statement.

Coronavirus Live Updates: 10,549 fresh Covid cases in India, 15.6% higher than yesterday
India added 10,549 new coronavirus cases and 488 fatalities today, pushing the country’s cumulative cases to 3,45,55,431 and the death count to 4,67,468.

Active cases in India now stand at 1,10,133.

Of the 488 new deaths recorded today, 384 were in Kerala and 50 were from Maharashtra. Kerala’s 384 recorded fatalities included 328 deaths that were designated as Covid fatalities after the state government received appeals based on the new guidelines of the Centre and the directions of the Supreme Court.

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Who Downplayed Covid, Against Carnival Resumption

President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday he was against Brazil resuming carnival celebrations in February, a rare nod to Covid-19 social distancing measures from the far-right leader.

“As far as I’m concerned, we shouldn’t have carnival,” Bolsonaro, 66, said in an interview, as Brazil debates whether to go ahead with the festivities held from February 25 to March 1.

Carnival was cancelled in Brazil this year because of the pandemic.

But authorities are considering allowing it to go ahead in 2022, given a sharp drop in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Brazil.

UK To Ban Travel From 6 Nations As South Africa Detects New Covid Variant

Britain on Thursday said it would ban travel from six southern African countries, after South Africa detected a new COVID-19 variant with a large number of mutations.

“The early indication we have of this variant is it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective against it,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.

Javid said the new variant, which South Africa attributed to a surge in cases and had also been detected in travellers from the country in Botswana and Hong Kong, had not been found so far in Britain.

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