Double mutant now most prevalent COVID-19 variant in India

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According to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), around one in 480 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to April 10 - the lowest figure since the week to September 19 past year.

Meanwhile in Wales, around one in 920 people was estimated to have had coronavirus in the week to April 10 - down from one in 800 in the week before and the lowest level since the week to September 10.

The drop in infection levels across the United Kingdom marks a contrast to rising case rates in other parts of the world. The health agency said it was monitoring the situation closely.

He was expected to spend four days in the country but Downing Street said the bulk of the work could be done in one day.

India recorded 2,00,739 and 2,17,353 cases on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Public Health England (PHE) has recorded 77 cases of the variant officially named B.1.617, which is said to be contributing to a sharp spike of the pandemic in India.

Deepti Gurdasani, senior lecturer in epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London urged the government to act, tweeting: "Not only do we are we continuing to see rises of the so-called South Africa variant, despite efforts to contain it, we also seem to have imported the double mutant from India - with *77* cases identified so far".

Experts believe it could be more resistant to vaccination.

As on April 15, out of 13,614 Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) samples processed in labs, 1,189 samples have tested positive for variants of concern for SARS COV-2 in India.

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India is still not on the red list, which means travellers would have to go into hotel quarantine in case they have coronavirus, despite its close neighbours being on the list even though they have smaller outbreaks.

This included 1,109 samples with the variant first found in Britain, 79 samples with variant first found in South African and one sample with the variant first found in Brazil, the report said. "They are a worry".

World Health Organization also noted that the variant is spreading to other countries and has been reported "across Asia and North America".

A No 10 spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "The Prime Minister's visit is still happening later this month".

'But we don't know that for certain at the moment'.

England's coronavirus reproduction number, also known as the R number, has declined slightly to between 0.7 and 1, the latest official data revealed.

Last week, the figure was between 0.8 and 1.

Although the double mutant is one of the mutants that has drawn attention, it is not established that it is the cause of the rapid transmission during the current COVID-19 wave, scientists here said.

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