India reports 20,036 new COVID-19 cases, 256 deaths

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On the same day, the Union Health Ministry announced that all worldwide passengers who arrived in India between December 9 and December 22 will be subjected to genome sequencing if symptomatic and tested positive for Covid-19.

A total of 20,035 new infections were reported in a day, while the death toll increased to 1,48,994 with 256 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

Meanwhile the Delhi government has imposed a night curfew in the city from 11 p.m. on Thursday to 6 a.m. on Friday, and more than five people will not be allowed to gather in public places during this time.

From November 25 to December 23, 2020 midnight, around 33,000 passengers were tested at various Indian airports from the UK.

After discussion of evidence-based modifications in India's testing, treatment and surveillance strategies for SARS-CoV-2 in view of the recent reports of emergence of a new variant strain of the virus from United Kingdom, the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 concluded that while there is no need to change the existing Treatment Protocol in view of mutations emerging in the strain, in addition to the existing surveillance strategies, it is critical to conduct enhanced genomic surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 specially in incoming passengers from UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected to RT-PCR tests by states and Union Territories. So far only 114 have been found positive for regular SARS-CoV-2.

Pandemic severe but not necessarily the big one
Ryan noted that while the covid-19 pandemic has certainly been very severe, it wasn't "necessarily the big one" that experts have been dreading.

The ministry said three cases were detected by a lab in Bangalore, two by a lab in Hyderabad and one by a lab in Pune. "3 in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV, Pune", the government had stated on Tuesday.

Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary Health Amit Mohan Prasad said that the two cases were found in Meerut and Gautam Buddh Nagar and samples of their contacts were also being taken. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travelers, family contacts and others.

Indian Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said any resumption of flights to and from Britain would be "strictly regulated". The National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 also convened on December 26 to consider and recommend testing, treatment, surveillance and containment strategies.

The presence of the new UK Variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore, so far.

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