Coronavirus digest: India finds 6 cases of UK variant

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This variant is substantially more infectious says the WHO. Elsewhere, Beijing has reported its first cases in several months.

Indian health authorities said on Tuesday that six people have tested positive for the new, more infectious variant of the coronavirus.

Those infected had all returned from Britain in recent weeks where the new variant was first identified.

All six patients have been kept in isolation, the health ministry said in a statement. “Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine,” the statement said.

Here’s an overview of other major developments around the world.

Brazil’s huge port city of Rio de Janeiro is set to block off beaches for New Year’s Eve to help stem the spread of the virus. Usually, millions of tourists flock to the famous Copacabana beach to watch fireworks launched from rafts.

Mexican singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero died Monday at the age of 86 after being hospitalized with the coronavirus. The composer and singer of romantic Latin ballads became the first Mexican to receive a Grammy lifetime achievement award in 2014.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 12,892 to over 1,664,000 in the past 24 hours, according to figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases. The reported death toll rose by 852 to 30,978.

China’s capital city Beijing has entered “emergency” mode after seven cases of coronavirus were found. Some villages in Shunyi District have been completely sealed off. While the number of infections appears small, before last week the city of over 21 million had not logged a local case of COVID-19 in 152 days.

Indonesia is securing 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from drugmakers BioNTech-Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the country’s new health minister has announced. Deals are set to be finalized in the coming weeks.

Around 1.3 million frontline health workers will be prioritized in the first vaccine drive.

American troops stationed in South Korea received the first doses of coronavirus vaccine to be administered in the country on Tuesday. Frontline health workers and first responders in US Forces Korea (USFK) were vaccinated first.

The vaccinations for US troops comes as health officials in capital city Seoulreported a daily record of 40 deaths amid a surge in new cases. Seoul plans to start its vaccinations in February, with health workers and vulnerable people first in line.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced a ban on selling alcohol and said face masks will be compulsory in public. The curbs were introduced after the country became the first in Africa to record one million cases.

Reuters

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