Amid mounting concerns over a fast-spreading new coronavirus strain detected in the United Kingdom, the Centre has on Tuesday issued a list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which impose special rules on passengers arriving from the country.
Besides, the government on Monday suspended all flights from UK into India and vice versa, with effect from 11.59 pm on December 22 to 11.59 pm on December 31.
Moreover, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government has imposed a night curfew in all municipal corporation limits from December 22 to January 5 in the wake of the new strain of coronavirus in the UK. The curfew will be from 11 pm to 6 am.
Meanwhile, the Centre has on Tuesday said that no significant mutation have been detected yet in the coronavirus strain in India. However, authorities will have to continue to remain vigilant, the government added.
"We haven't detected any significant mutation yet in coronavirus strain in India. There is no cause of concern but we have to be vigilant," news agency PTI quoted government sources as saying.
Dr VK Paul, a member of government think-tank NITI Aayog, reportedly confirmed that the new strain or mutation of the coronavirus, that was detected in the United Kingdom, has not been seen in India so far.
"The new strain of COVID19 in the United Kingdom has increased transmissibility. This mutation is not affecting the severity of the disease. Case fatality is not affected by this mutation," he added.
With the vaccination process about to start in India, many are also concerned whether the vaccines will prove effective against the new coronavirus strain.
However, according to Jeremy Farrar, director of the London-based research charity Wellcome Trust UK, there is no indication at the moment that the new strain would evade treatments and vaccines.
"However, the mutation is a reminder of the power of the virus to adapt, and that cannot be ruled out in the future. Acting urgently to reduce transmission is critical," Farrar said in a statement.
(With PTI inputs)