India suffering ‘mutant Covid tsunami’ with bodies burned 24/7 as Britain FINALLY imposes travel ban

INDIA is suffering a Covid mutant "tsunami" with bodies being burned 24 hours a day.

New virus super-mutants are ravaging the country, which is fighting the "world's worst" coronavirus outbreak.

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On Friday, India reported more than 332,730 new infections – the highest daily sum of the pandemic anywhere in the world.

The figures raised India's case total to above 16 million since the pandemic began – the second-highest global total after the United States.

The country's overall coronavirus death toll stands at more than 186,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University's count.

Bodies are being cremated through the night – contrary to Hindu custom which dictates no bodies be burned after sundown – to cope with the backlog.

The hold-up is so severe that families are having to wait hours in 35C heat before they can cremate their loved ones.

Funeral pyres have been sending smoke into the sky across the country non-stop.

Dr A Fathahudeen, a medic part of Kerala state’s Covid taskforce, said: "I said in February that Covid had not gone anywhere and a tsunami would hit us if urgent actions were not taken.

"Sadly, a tsunami has indeed hit us now."

Journalist Iram Hussein described the country's hospital scenes as "biblical", the Daily Mail reports.

She said she was forced to beg for her parents – both critically ill with Covid – to be given a hospital bed, only to find there were no facilities to treat them.

She added: "They have got nothing to fight this. No medicines, no oxygen. I am seeing biblical scenes."

An extreme shortage in oxygen has led the Health Ministry to urge hospitals to implement rationing.

Tanks of oxygen are being shuttled across the country to hotspots to keep up with the demand – but local officials have alleged that many have been intercepted by other states en route to be used to meet local needs.

Official figures show one in three people in the country's capital New Delhi are testing positive for the virus, but the true statistic is likely to be even higher.

The country, which has a population of 1.4 billion people, has given less than 10 per cent of its population their first vaccine dose despite administering millions of jabs every day.

The country was already battling a so-called "double mutant" strain meaning two variants had formed to create a new form of the disease, but is now facing a new "triple mutant" variant.

It comes as Britain finally imposes a travel ban – adding India to the UK's official coronavirus travel red list.

Passengers on flights into the UK from India must now enter hotel quarantine.

As of 4am on Friday, people returning from India must quarantine in Government-approved accommodation for 10 days, while anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen will be banned from entering the country if they have been in India in the previous 10 days.

Four airlines asked for a total of eight extra flights to arrive at Heathrow before the 4am cut-off, however it is understood the airport declined the airlines' requests to ensure existing pressures at the border were not exacerbated.

The restrictions come in response to mounting concern about the number of Covid-19 cases in India and the emergence there of a variant of the virus.

The variant – known as B.1.617 – was first noted internationally in October and first identified in the UK on February 22.

It has 13 mutations, including two in the virus's spike protein, known as E494Q and L452R.

Public Health England (PHE) said on Thursday that 55 cases of the Indian variant were found in the UK in the week to April 14.

PHE experts are currently unsure whether any of the mutations mean the variant can be transmitted more easily, is more deadly or can evade the effectiveness of vaccines or natural immunity.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to cancel a trip to India on Monday as the country struggles to cope with a dramatic surge in cases.

People who arrived back in the UK from India before the red list change told the BBC they were "so relieved" and felt "very lucky".

There are 40 countries on the UK red list, including India, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UK Government website says that if you have been in or through any of the red list countries in the previous 10 days, you will be refused entry to the UK.

It adds that if you are a British or Irish national, or you have residence rights in the UK, you will be able to enter but must quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days.

Anyone arriving in Northern Ireland having been in, or transited through, one of the red list countries must complete the UK passenger locator form, provide evidence of a pre-departure negative Covid-19 test, and from April 16 enter hotel quarantine for 10 days.

The Wales Government website says that from February 15 there is no direct arrival into Wales for travellers who have been in a country on the red list.

Those flying directly to Scotland from abroad need to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days (11 nights) as soon as they arrive.

The Scottish Government website says "abroad" means flying to Scotland from outside the UK (including Northern Ireland), Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

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