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The schools in Mumbai will remain shut till January 15, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced on Tuesday. Earlier, the BMC had ordered schools to remain shut till December 31.

BMC's announcement comes amid fears of a new coronavirus variant being detected in the United Kingdom (UK). Subsequently, the Maharashtra government had imposed a night curfew and several restrictions on Christmas and New Year's celebrations. However, now the mutant virus has reached India.

Six persons who returned to India from the UK have tested positive for the new UK variant of COVID-19, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday. It said the mutated UK strain was detected in samples in National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, in Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and one in National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

All these persons have been kept in single room isolation at designated health care facilities by respective state governments and their close contacts have also been put under quarantine, the ministry said. "Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on. The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples," the ministry added.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai division which consists of Mumbai city and satellite towns, reported 991 new cases on Tuesday, raising the region's total case count to 6,58,483. A total of 19,051 people have died so far in the region, the official said.

(With PTI inputs)

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