• Tuesday, November 30, 2021
India corona update 
Total Fatalities 425,195
Total Cases 31,726,507
Today's Fatalities 422
Today's Cases 30,549
India corona update 
Total Fatalities 425,195
Total Cases 31,726,507
Today's Fatalities 422
Today's Cases 30,549

Coronavirus

New Covid variant: India to tighten tourists’ testing

Representational Image (Photo by DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA, which witnessed a devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year resulted in deaths of several thousands, has issued an advisory to all states to rigorously test and screen travellers from South Africa and other “at risk” nations amid concerns over a new variant of the disease.
The decision has come in the wake of New Delhi easing some of its travel restrictions earlier in November.

India’s health ministry said reports of mutations in the new variant, identified as B.1.1.529, had “serious public health implications”, Reuters reported.

“This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel,” the country’s health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to states late on Thursday (25).
While some major Asian nations have already tightened border controls and restrict travellers as a precaution against the new variant, India has not yet issued a notification, a senior government source has said.

“This has not been studied fully by ministry of health,” the source told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

Neither India’s health nor foreign ministry responded to a request from the news outlet to comment on whether India will impose a ban on foreign travellers.

On Friday (26), the UK Health Security Agency warned that the new variant has a spike protein that was dramatically different from the one in the original coronavirus that Covid-19 jabs are based on and that could make the vaccines less effective.

Britain has barred flights from six African nations and even asked its own nationals travelling back from those places to quarantine.

India, which is the second worst Covid-19-affected country in the world after the US, has seen a small rise in new cases in one-and-half-years this week, thanks to an accelerated vaccination drive and antibodies in a large part of its population that had infections earlier.

Earlier this month, India identified 10 nations “at risk” that includes South Africa, China, New Zealand, Britain, etc. It has, on the other hand, opened borders to 99 nations overall.

The impact of the new variant was also felt in the financial sector as Indian shares tumbled by more than two per cent on Friday as investors fled risky assets panicking over the variant, Reuters added, saying the losses were consistent with steep falls witnessed in markets across Asia.

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