Sat, 08 May 2021

LONDON, April 22 (Xinhua) -- A further 55 cases of the coronavirus "double mutation" variant first detected in India have been discovered in Britain in the week to April 21, Public Health England (PHE) said Thursday.

The new development takes the total number of B.1.617 infections to 132, Sky News reported, citing the latest PHE figures.

The new PHE figures came just hours before India is added to Britain's travel "red list" on Friday, which means arrivals will have to quarantine in government-approved hotels for 10 days.

Under the new rules, travel from India to Britain is being banned for non-British and Irish citizens from 4:00 a.m. BST (0300 GMT) on Friday.

It is understood that the coronavirus variant B.1.617, which has a "double mutation", may be more infectious and the current vaccines may be less effective against it.

The double mutated virus, B.1.617, is becoming the most prevalent among all the mutant COVID-19 variants in India, Indian media reports said.

Meanwhile, PHE also released data that showed a further 70 cases of the variant first detected in South Africa have been discovered in Britain in the latest week. This takes the total number in Britain to 670, Sky News said.

Earlier Thursday, the official figures said that another 2,729 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,398,431.

The country also reported another 18 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 127,345. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

More than 33.2 million people have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

Experts have warned that despite progress in vaccine rollout, Britain is "still not out of the woods" amid concerns over new variants, particularly those first emerged in South Africa, Brazil and India, and the third wave of pandemic on the European continent.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

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