India expands travel curbs to S. Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, others

New Delhi Government has expanded the list of countries which have been placed under travel controls Following the report of new mutations in SARS-CoV-2 and a growing number of variants of concern and variants of interest globally.

Till now, passengers traveling from the UK, the European Union (EU) and the Middle East were required to have a negative RT-PCR report before flying and then a mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival in India.

“Considering the risk of mutations in SARS-CoV-2, we have added more countries to the list including South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand and Zimbabwe in the UK, EU and Middle East list. International passenger All these countries will now require RT-PCR negative report on flights to India and RT-PCR test on arrival here,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said during a press briefing.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely monitoring a new coronavirus “type of interest” named Mu (scientific name b.1.621). In its weekly epidemiological update published on Tuesday, the global public health agency warned that it was becoming increasingly prevalent in Colombia and Ecuador, and showed signs of potential resistance to the vaccines.

The WHO said Mu was first identified in Colombia in January 2021, and since then, there have been sporadic reports of cases and outbreaks in South America and Europe.

Mu is the fifth type of interest to be monitored by the WHO since March. “It has several mutations that suggest it may be more resistant to vaccines. Further research will be needed to confirm this,” WHO said.

Preliminary data shows reduced effectiveness of vaccines “as seen for the beta version. The WHO said it would monitor the epidemiology of the mu version in South America, particularly with co-circulation of the delta version… for change”

However, according to the WHO classification, version C.1.2 is not yet a variant to follow, nor a type of concern. WHO spokeswoman Dr Margaret Harris said: “It doesn’t appear that the prevalence is increasing.” The Union Health Ministry said that around 300 cases of the Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected in India so far.

Bhushan said over 47,092 cases were reported in the last 24 hours, with Kerala accounting for 69% of the new cases from the previous week.

The active caseload stands at 389,583, or 1.19% of the total positive cases. The daily positivity rate is 2.80%.

Bhushan said 39 districts of the country registered weekly Covid positivity rates of more than 10% for the week ended August 31, while it was between 5% and 10% in 38 districts.

“Over 16% of India’s adult population has received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 54% have received at least the first dose. The entire adult population in Sikkim, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Himachal Pradesh has received at least one dose of the vaccine,” Bhushan said.

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