New Delhi | Jagran World Desk: World Health Organisation on Friday said that the B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19 first identified in South Africa, has a 'large number of mutations that require and will undergo further study'. WHO spokersperson Christian Lindmeier said that it will take a few weeks for WHO to understand what impact this variant has. "Researchers are working to understand more," WHO spokesperson added. 

Earlier, the Union Health Ministry on Thursday directed all states and Union Territories to rigorously screen and test travellers coming from or  through three countries in which the new more dangerous variant of COVID-19 had been confirmed. That is, South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong.

In a letter addressed to all states and Union Territories, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said India’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has informed the Centre that a total of ten cases of B.1.1.529 variant have been reported from three countries in total. These countries are Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6 cases) and Hong Kong (1 case).

How dangerous is B.1.1.529 variant of COVID19?
Officials in and beyond South Africa, where the said variant of COVID-19 is reported to have emerged, expressed concern that the mutation could result in immune evasion and enhanced transmissibility of the virus.
"The full significance of this variant remains uncertain and the best tool we have is still the vaccines," Professor Tulio de Oliveira, Director, Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa was quoted as saying by CNN
India resumes international flights, exceptions include nations reporting  B.1.1.529 variant
India on Friday announced that it will resume international flights from December 15 onwards, except 14 countries. Among these 14 countries, most have reported B.1.1.529 variant cases. The exceptions include  United Kingdom,  Singapore, Brazil, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Bangladesh, Botswana, South Africa, China, Mauritius, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma