NEW DELHI

India announced on Tuesday that 20 more people tested positive for the new coronavirus variant, taking the total cases to 58 so far.

The situation is “under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The new variant genome of SARS-CoV2, the virus causing COVID-19, was first reported in the UK.

The cases of new strain are being reported in India amid a continuous decline in new cases.

On Tuesday morning, the country reported additional 16,375 infections, taking the nationwide toll to 10.35 million. Coronavirus-linked deaths reached to 149,850, including 201 fresh fatalities.

Some 29,000 people recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours. The health officials recorded a drop by nearly 13,000 in total active cases over the past day.

India’s drug regulatory authority on Sunday approved two coronavirus vaccines for “restricted use in an emergency situation,” a day after an expert panel made recommendations to the regulatory body.

The approvals were given to the Covishield vaccine developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and to the Covaxin jab, the country’s indigenous vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech.

The approvals, however, faced some questions as efficacy data from the Covaxin vaccine’s phase 3 trials is yet to come in.

Drugs Controller General of India Dr. Venugopal G Somani, however, said that the vaccines are safe.

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