India detects new ‘double mutant variant’ of novel coronavirus

New Delhi: India has detected a new “double mutant variant” of the novel coronavirus, the health ministry said on Wednesday, adding to concern as the government struggles with the highest single-day tally of new infections and deaths this year.

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Genome sequencing and analysis of samples from Maharashtra state found mutations in the virus that do not match previously catalogued “variants of concern” (VOC), the ministry said in a statement.

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Maharashtra is one of India’s worst-affected states but the ministry said it was not clear if the new variant was causing an upsurge there or in other states.

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“Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states,” the ministry said in a statement.

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It did not elaborate.

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India has already reported several cases of a variant first detected in Britain, as well as ones first found in South Africa and Brazil.

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India recorded 47,262 fresh coronavirus cases in a day, the highest single-day rise so far this year, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 11,734,058, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday.

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The active caseload registered an increased for the 14th day in a row and was recorded at 368,457, comprising 3.14 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate further dropped to 95.49 per cent, the ministry data updated at 8 am said.

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The daily rise in infections was the highest recorded in 132 days, while the country’s COVID-19 death toll increased to 160,441, with 275 new fatalities, the highest in around 83 days.

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As many as 47,905 new infections were recorded in a span of 24 hours on November 12 last year, it said.

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Out of the 275 new fatalities, 132 deaths were reported from Maharashtra, 53 from Punjab, 20 from Chhattisgarh and 10 from Kerala.

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The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

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