Coronavirus: At least 20 passengers from UK test positive, states start contact tracing
German firm BioNTech said it can make a vaccine to beat the new coronavirus strain in six weeks.
At least 20 passengers who arrived in India from the United Kingdom, where a new strain of coronavirus has emerged, tested positive on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Centre said that the new strain has not been seen in India so far. The government added that the variant has no effect on the severity of the disease or case fatality rate.
German firm BioNTech, meanwhile, said it can make a vaccine to beat the new coronavirus strain in six weeks.
India’s coronavirus tally on Tuesday morning rose to 1,00,75,116 after 19,556 new cases emerged in 24 hours. This is the lowest daily rise in infections since early July. The country’s toll went up by 301 to 1,46,111. There are 2,92,518 active cases, and 96,36,487 people have recovered so far.
Covid-19 has infected more than 7.77 crore people and killed over 17 lakh in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Over 4.36 crore people have recovered from the infection.
The national helpline number for the coronavirus is 011-23978046, and a toll-free number 1075.
These are the helpline numbers for states and the Union Territories
10.58 pm: Puri’s Jagannath Temple to reopen from December 23, reports the Hindustan Times.
10.58 pm: United States’ top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci says it is “certainly possible” that the new variant of coronavirus found in Britain has already reached the country, reports the Hindustan Times.
10.55 pm: At least 20 passengers from the UK test positive for coronavirus, reports PTI.
10.12 pm: The Gauhati High Court issues notices to the Centre and the Assam government over alleged denial of proper treatment to non-Covid patients in hospitals across the state, reports PTI. The division bench of Chief Justice (Acting) N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Manish Choudhury asks the respondents to reply within three weeks.
10.05 pm: Oman will receive the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday. “The first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine will be delivered to the Sultanate on coming Wednesday,” says Badr bin Saif Al Rawahi, the director of the infectious diseases control department of the country’s health ministry.
10.04 pm: Haryana’s Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Arora tells PTI that the health department has already identified 1,800 vaccination session sites and over 5,000 vaccinators have been mapped.
10.02 pm: Mumbai registers 503 fresh infections and 11 additional fatalities, says the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
10.01 pm: Haryana reports 10 deaths and 534 new cases.
8.03 pm: 939 fresh cases in Delhi take tally to over 6.18 lakh, reports PTI. Toll stands at 10,329 with 25 new fatalities.
8.01 pm: Maharashtra reports 3,106 new cases, taking tally to 19,02,458, reports PTI. 75 new deaths push toll to 48,876.
7.59 pm: Tamil Nadu reports 1,052 new cases and 17 new deaths, reports ANI.
7.56 pm: Andhra Pradesh reports 402 new cases, taking tally tup to 8.79 lakh, reports PTI. The toll goes up to 7,082 , with four new deaths.
7.33 pm: Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority bans all flights to and from the United Kingdom from Wednesday, reports ANI.
7.30 pm: Meanwhile, as many as 590 passengers landed in Mumbai from the UK in three aircraft today, according to PTI. A civic body officials says no symptomatic person was on board these flights.
7.27 pm: A total of 358 passengers have arrived in Telangana in the past one week from the United Kingdom, where a new coronavirus variant has been discovered, reports PTI.
Telangana Public Health Director G Srinivas Rao says that these passengers need to undergo institutional quarantine even if they test negative, while positive cases would be treated in hospitals, based on their symptoms.
7.25 pm: Seven passengers and a crew member who arrived from the United Kingdom in an Air India flight test positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI. Punjab Minister for Medical Education and Research OP Soni says that those who tested positive for the infection will be quarantined.
6.03 pm: The Haryana government begins preparations for vaccination, ANI reports. “1,800 vaccination session sites and more than 5,000 vaccinators have been mapped for the process of administering the vaccine,” Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Arora says.
6.01 pm: Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal says board examinations for classes 10 and 12 will not be held in January-February. He adds that the exam schedule will be decided in February.
4.29 pm: The government urges people to not ignore safety norms ahead of Christmas and New Year.
4.15 pm: The Centre adds that the mutation has not been seen in India. It also says that the new strain will not affect the potential of the vaccines being developed in India.
4.13 pm: NITI Aayog member VK Paul says there is no reason to panic over the new strain of Covid-19 but India must be more vigilant.
4.08 pm: The ministry adds that current evidence shows the mutation does not affect severity of the disease or case fatality rate.
4.05 pm: The health ministry explains the mutation found in the UK. “The mutation has increased transmissibility of the infection,” the ministry says.
4.02 pm: The health ministry briefs the media on the coronavirus.
3.40 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa rules out the possibility of imposing night curfew in the state, reports The Hindu.
“There is no such proposal for now,” says the chief minister, replying to questions on whether Karnataka will follow Maharashtra that has imposed an 11 pm to 6 am night curfew till January 5 because of a new strain of coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom.
3.08 pm: Two passengers from the UK test positive for the coronavirus at the Kolkata airport, PTI reports.
3.00 pm: Air India says it will waive-off all penalties for one-time rescheduling, cancellation and rerouting of flights to UK, Saudi Arabia and Oman between December 22 and December 31.
2.59 pm: German firm BioNTech says it can make mutation-beating vaccine in six weeks, AFP reports.
2.35 pm: The Centre issues standard operating procedures as a new variant of the virus that is spreading in Britain has prompted countries to stop travellers from there. This includes RT-PCR testing on arrival in India and separate isolation of those testing positive for the new variant of coronavirus.
2.01 pm: The Delhi government will test all passengers from the United Kingdom from Tuesday onwards, reports The Indian Express. The government will also get in touch with those who arrived from the UK in the last two weeks.
India has suspended all flights to the UK till December 31, but there are three flights scheduled to reach Delhi on Tuesday.
1.56 pm: Tamil Nadu is also identifying the people who travelled to the United Kingdom in the last 10 days and ensuring they all test negative in RT-PCR testing, adds the state health secretary, reports ANI.
1.48 pm: Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan says the state is testing for Covid-19 passengers of flights originating or halting in the United Kingdom. “One such passenger tested positive yesterday,” he adds, according to ANI. “It’s incorrect to presume that he is infected with UK variant of Covid. We’ll send his samples to NIV, Pune.”
1.47 pm: Delhi International Airport CEO Videh Jaipuriar speaks about the movement of Covid-19 vaccines. “Both cargo terminals of the Delhi Airport are equipped with cool chambers to handle the vaccines.” he tells ANI. “We’ve made special arrangements for redistribution.”
1.41 pm: Six passengers travelling on Air India’s London to Delhi flight have tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival, reports PTI, citing a senior government official.
12.36 pm: Cricketer Suresh Raina and singer Guru Randhawa were among the people charged and arrested for violating Covid-19 norms after a raid at the Dragonfly Club near the Mumbai airport, India Today reports. They were released on bail later.
12.31: Airports in India have set up help desks to assist passengers arriving from the United Kingdom as they will have to take real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for on arrival, Hindustan Times reports. The flights from UK will be banned from Tuesday midnight.
12.27 pm: The Mumbai Police arrest 34 people for allegedly violating coronavirus-related norms at a club near the airport, PTI reports.
12.25 pm: Japan is also considering tightening border controls for people coming from the United Kingdom amid concerns over the emergence of a new fast-spreading coronavirus strain in that country, Reuters reports.
12.21 pm: A Reuters analysis shows that one coronavirus patient died every 33 seconds in the United States last week. The infection killed over 18,000 people in the seven days ended December 20, up 6.7% from the last week.
12.16 pm: Five passengers of a flight that landed in Delhi from London on Monday night test positive for the coronavirus, ANI reports.
12.12 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi praises the Aligarh Muslim University for helping people amid the coronavirus crisis, ANI reports. “Conducting free tests, making isolation wards, creating plasma banks and contributing to PM CARES Fund, all this shows the seriousness of fulfilling your obligations towards society,” he adds.
10.09 am: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said his administration was working “as fast as possible” to unblock trade across the English Channel after France shut its borders with the country, reports AFP.
10.05 am: Developers of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V have announced they are signing a deal with AstraZeneca to test a combination of the two vaccines, reports AP.
10.02 am: US President-Elect Joe Biden has received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine live on television. “Today, I received the Covid-19 vaccine,” he tweets. “To the scientists and researchers who worked tirelessly to make this possible – thank you. We owe you an awful lot. And to the American people – know there is nothing to worry about. When the vaccine is available, I urge you to take it.”
10.01 am: Coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed the 18-million mark on Monday, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
10 am: Left Democratic Front councillor Jayachandran Nair was on Monday sworn in wearing a personal protective equipment kit as he has tested positive for Covid-19, reports ANI. He was elected from the Kudappanakunnu ward in Thiruvananthapuram corporation.
9.50 am: The head of the European Union’s drug regulator said on Monday that it appeared the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine could protect against the mutant strain, reports AFP.
9.45 am: The European Union has formally approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, reports The New York Times.
9.40 am: Singapore on Monday received the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, reports AFP. It is the first country in Asia to get the delivery of a vaccine.
9.30 am: India’s coronavirus tally rises to 1,0075,116 after 19,556 new cases emerge in 24 hours. The country’s toll goes up by 301 to 1,46,111.
9.15 am: Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Monday said the state would take action according to the Centre’s directions on the new strain of the coronavirus, reports NDTV. The state has made seven-day home quarantine compulsory for travellers from the United Kingdom, Denmark and Netherlands.
9 am: Tamil Nadu on Monday banned New Year celebrations on beaches, in hotels, clubs and resorts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, reports PTI.
Here are updates from Monday:
- India’s coronavirus tally reached 1,00,55,560 after 24,337 new cases were reported in 24 hours. The country’s toll rose by 333 to 1,45,810. India’s active cases stood at 3,03,639, while the number of recoveries reached 96,06,111. The recovery rate was pegged at 95.53%, and the mortality rate at 1.45%.
- India banned all flights from United Kingdom till December 31. The suspension will come into effect from 11.59 pm on December 22.
- Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the Indian government is alert and there was no need to panic over worries about a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom.
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs recommended that any coronavirus vaccine should be granted emergency use authorisation in the country only after proper consideration and conducting its trials on a sufficient sample size.
- The Maharashtra government decided to send fliers from Europe and the Middle East to institutional quarantine for two weeks. This came after a new and highly infectious strain of the coronavirus was found in the United Kingdom.
- Equity markets witnessed a meltdown as benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty roiled over a new strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, leading to selloff across sectors. The 30-share BSE Sensex cracked 3%, losing 1,406.73 points, to close at 45,553.96. The broader 50-share NSE Nifty slipped 432.15 points or 3.14% to finish trading at 13,328.40.