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As new variant emerges, India to tighten Covid testing for international tourists   

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With the emergence of new coronavirus variant on mind, Indian government has issued an advisory to all states to rigorously test and screen international travellers from South Africa and other “at risk” countries.   

The travel restrictions were eased earlier this month. According to the WHO, the variant, which is called B.1.1.529, has been detected in South Africa in small numbers.  

Also Read: New coronavirus variant, having large number of mutations, detected in South Africa

The reports of mutations in the new variant, which has been identified as B.1.1.529 had “serious public health implications”, said the federal health ministry.  

In a letter to states on Thursday, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “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.”  

Also Read: EU medical agency gives go ahead to BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 age group

According to the Union Health Ministry data on Friday, India has registered 10,549 new coronavirus infections. It has taken the country’s total tally of Covid cases to 3,45,55,431. The active cases in the country rose to 1,10,133. 

“In view of the threat from new COVID-19 variant from African countries, we have requested experts to make a presentation to DDMA on Monday and suggest what steps we should take. We will take all steps necessary to protect you and your family,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

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The death toll has also climbed to 4,67,468 with 488 fresh fatalities, including 384 in Kerala.  

For 49 straight days, the daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 20,000. 

(With inputs from agencies) 



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