As more nations impose restrictions on travel to the United Kingdom (the latest being Canada), the Union Health Ministry has called an urgent meeting of its Joint Monitoring Group on Monday to discuss the emergence of a mutated variant of the coronavirus in the UK, which has led to a surge in the infection rate there.
Canada is halting passenger flights from the United Kingdom for 72 hours, the health ministry said on Sunday.
You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.
Here are the latest updates:
Saudi Arabia suspends international flights
Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended all international passenger flights for citizens and residents over fears about the fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus.
The kingdom’s Interior Ministry says the one-week flight ban may be extended “until medical information about the nature of this virus becomes clear.”
Tennessee governor enacts new virus restrictions
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has announced new social gathering restrictions while still refusing to implement a mask mandate despite pleas from front-line healthcare workers in a state experiencing the highest new cases per capita in the country.
Instead of a mask mandate, the Republican on December 20 signed an executive order limiting public gatherings to 10 people. However, places of worship, weddings and funerals are exempt from the order.
He called the state “ground zero” in the COVID-19 battle and urged Tennesseans not to gather with people outside their immediate households during the upcoming holidays. His message comes just a day after Mr. Lee confirmed that his wife Maria had tested positive for COVID-19.
Resorts, homestays see business pick up as 2020 draws to a close
The Karnataka government may have banned parties and revelry in public spaces for the New Year in the light of the pandemic, but that does not seem to have dampened the spirits. For the first time since the pandemic forced us into a lockdown in March earlier this year, many have booked a holiday for the Christmas–New Year season.
Sanjar Imam, president of the Karnataka Tourism Forum, said though the business was still nearly 80% lower when compared with the same time last year, the industry started seeing the first signs of “green shoots” this year since October and the upcoming holiday season looked “promising”.
Case graph inches upwards in many districts in Kerala
Kerala reported 5,711 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, when 53,858 samples were tested in the past 24 hours, taking the State’s cumulative case burden to 7,05,869 cases. Test positivity rate, which has been slowly and steadily rising since the past one week, reached 10.6% on Sunday.
The rising trend is being witnessed since December 12 in many districts, especially Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Wayanad, Kannur, Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam. The change is beginning to be discernible in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam too.
Health Ministry team to meet on mutant variant of coronavirus
The Health Ministry has called a meeting of its joint monitoring group (JMG) on COVID-19 on Monday to discuss the emergence of a mutant variant of the coronavirus in the UK, which has reportedly led to a surge in infection rates there.
“The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been undergoing constant mutation but this new variant seems to be more virulent. It may cause additional harm as it attaches itself to the integrin of the cell leading to increased cellular inflammation and health complications,” said Prof. N.K. Ganguly, former director general, ICMR.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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