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India logs 24,712 fresh Covid cases; 312 new fatalities

India logs 24,712 fresh Covid cases; 312 new fatalities
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New Delhi: India's COVID-19 caseload rose to 1,01,23,778 with 24,712 new infections being reported in a day, while the recoveries surged to 96.93 lakh, according to the Union Health ministry data updated on Thursday.

The death toll increased to 1,46,756 with 312 new fatalities. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 96,93,173 pushing the national recovery rate to 95.75 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45 per cent.

The COVID-19 active caseload remained below 3 lakh for the third consecutive day.

There are 2,83,849 active Coronavirus infections in the country which comprises 2.80 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

According to the ICMR, 16,53,08,366 samples have been tested up to December 23 with 10,39,645 samples being tested on Wednesday. The 312 new fatalities include 93 from Maharashtra, 34 from West Bengal, 22 from Kerala and 21 from Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the mutated Coronavirus strain that's been spreading in the United Kingdom appears to be more contagious and will likely lead to higher levels of hospitalisations and deaths next year, a new study showed, according to a Bloomberg report.

The variant is 56 per cent more transmissible than other strains, according to the study by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. There's no clear evidence that it results in more or less severe disease.

The UK government had previously said the mutated variant appears to be as much as 70 per cent more transmissible than other circulating strains. Additionally, it has almost two dozen mutations that may affect proteins made by the coronavirus, Patrick Vallance, the UK's chief scientific adviser, said on December 19. That has raised concern that tests, treatments and vaccines that just started rolling out might be less effective, though Europe's health regulator said the variant probably isn't different enough from earlier ones to elude Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE's shot. Countries including Australia, Denmark and Singapore have also discovered the strain. In a related development, Rajasthan government has imposed night curfew on the New Year eve in all cities in the state with a population of over one lakh. The curfew will be imposed from 8 pm on December 31 to 6 am on January 1, with the aim to contain the spread of Covid in the state. No New Year party will be organised on the occasion and bursting of firecrackers has also been banned.

The Karnataka government, however, on Thursday withdrew the night curfew order it had announced a day earlier amid global fears of a new Covid strain. In a statement, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said he held a meeting with officials and ministers following public outcry and decided to withdraw the order.

Amid concerns over the detection of a mutated and more infectious strain of Covid-19 in the UK, the Meghalaya government has barred the entry of individuals from the European country into the state. It has also urged people who have recently returned from Britain or transited through the country to stay in isolation and inform the government about their travel history. A Parliamentary panel on Thursday recommended putting athletes, coaches and support staff going for the 2021 Japan Olympics in the priority group for the COVID-19 vaccination process. The Japan Olympics are slated to be held from July next year.

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