Coronavirus infections in India surpass 24m

World | 14 May 2021 4:54 pm

India's tally of coronavirus disease infections climbed past 24 million on Friday, amid reports that the highly transmissible variant first detected in the South Asian nation was spreading across the globe, Reuters reports.

The Indian B.1.617 variant has been found in eight nations in the Americas, including Canada and the United States, said Jairo Mendez, an infectious diseases expert with the World Health Organization (WHO).

"These variants have a greater capacity for transmission, but so far we have not found any collateral consequences," Mendez said. "The only worry is that they spread faster."

Among the infected were travellers in Panama and Argentina who had arrived from India or Europe, while in the Caribbean, the variant was found in Aruba, Dutch St Maarten and the French department of Guadeloupe.

It has spread to Nepal and also been detected in Britain and Singapore.

Public Health England said the total number of infections due to the variant had more than doubled in the past week, to 1,313 across Britain.

"We are anxious about it - it has been spreading," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, adding that meetings would be held to discuss measures. "We're ruling nothing out."



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