South Africa’s health department said last week that a new genetic mutation of the virus had been discovered and might be responsible for a recent surge in infections there. Countries around the world have in recent days closed their borders to both Britain and South Africa following the identification of the new, fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus. “Thanks to the impressive genomic capability of the South Africans, we’ve detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus here in the UK,” Matt Hancock told the media. “Both are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks.”

India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 1,01,23,778 with 24,712 new infections being reported in a day, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated today. The Indian government is putting in serious efforts to keep an eye on the new coronavirus strain found in the UK, and passengers who have arrived from UK. The Delhi Health Department asks Lok Nayak Hospital to set up a separate isolation unit for people testing positive for COVID-19 after returning from the United Kingdom.

India issues the SOPs for surveillance of new strain of COVID-19,  MoHFW issued SOPs at the point of entry and in the community for all international passengers who have travelled from or transited through the UK in the past four weeks (from Nov 25 to Dec 23). Goa health authorities are also trying to track down 602 people who arrived in the state from Britain and the UAE since Dec 9.

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US-based pharma company Moderna, said that it expects its COVID-19 vaccine to be protective against the new mutated coronavirus reported in Britain.”Moderna expects that the immunity induced by its COVID-19 vaccine would be protective against coronavirus variants reported in the United Kingdom,” read the statement released by Moderna.

Findings from the Phase-2 trials of Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine show, that Covaxin is capable of generating antibodies that may remain effective against Covid-19 for six to 12 months. Meanwhile, with countries hoping for the green light to finally start inoculating their citizens, India is looking into emergency use authorization sought by Pfizer for Covid-19 vaccine.

Stepping up preparations for Covid-19 vaccination drive, a senior official on Tuesday said the Haryana government has started registration of healthcare workers who will be vaccinated in the first phase.

Countries like Qatar and Dubai are all set to start their vaccination drive, as Singapore receives its shipment of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine and plans to start vaccinating its citizens soon.

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