The total number of coronavirus cases of the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants in India stand at 795 till date, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
On March 18, the country had recorded a total of 400 cases with these variants and 242 on March 4. The data shows that the cases have doubled in merely five days.
Earlier on Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that 81 per cent of the 401 samples sent by the state for genome sequencing tested positive for the UK Covid variant.
Expressing concern over the surging cases, he stressed the need for the Central government to urgently open up the vaccination for a bigger section of the populace. The Union Cabinet has now decided to allow vaccination of those over 45 and above, without any co-morbid conditions.
A genomic consortium of 10 regional laboratories with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the apex laboratory has been established to perform genomic sequencing of the samples from positive travellers and 5 per cent of the positive test samples from the community.
This comes against the backdrop of Maharashtra, Punjab and Gujarat reporting an upsurge in Covid-19 cases. Maharashtra accounts for over 60 per cent of the daily cases.