New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that five more cases of the new strain of COVID-19 have been detected in India, taking the total number of such cases to 25.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that the four of the five new cases were discovered in Pune while one case was found in the national capital.

The Health Ministry further said that all 25 United Kingdom (UK) returnees, who have tested positive for new strain of the infection, are in physical isolation in health facilities.

The new strain of coronavirus, which was discovered by the UK authorities in September this year, is said to be 70 per cent more contagious than the existing one. Though experts have claimed that a vaccine will work against the mutant variant of the infection, the Centre has extended the ban on all flights from the UK till January 7.

Meanwhile, several states and union territories (UTs), including Delhi and Maharashtra, have reimposed restrictions ahead of New Year's celebrations, asking people to stay inside and follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

Also Read -- New Year Celebrations: Night curfews, ban on terrace parties in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities; check details here

India seeks more information from SII, Bharat Biotech vaccines for emergency use approval

Meanwhile, the central government has sought more information from Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech about their COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use approval in the country.

The government will hold another meeting on Friday and discuss emergency use approval for COVID-19 vaccine of AstraZeneca and Oxford after the UK became the first country in the world to do so

Amid this, All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria has said that the country will have COVID-19 shots within days.

"This is very good news that AstraZeneca got approval for its vaccine by UK regulatory authorities. They have robust data and in India and the same vaccine is being developed by the Serum Institute of India. This is a big step forward not only for India but many parts of the world," he had said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma