Coronavirus Omicron India December 5 Highlights: After Pune, now Rajasthan reports 9 new Omicron cases, India tally surges to 21

Covid-19 India Live News, New Omicron Variant Cases in India, Coronavirus Vaccine Statistics and Registration Latest Update Live, December 5 Highlights: States jump to action as India’s Omicron tally surges, Uttarakhand govt on full alert

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Over 127 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the Nationwide Vaccination Drive.

Coronavirus Vaccine Registration, Coronavirus Omicron Variant Cases in India December 5 Highlights: First case of Omicron variant has been detected in Delhi, state Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Sunday. The patient had returned from Tanzania and has been admitted to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital in Delhi. India’s total tally of Omicron variant cases have now risen up to 5. “Twelve samples had been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control. One was found carrying the Omicron variant. The patient is an Indian and had returned from Tanzania a few days ago,” an official told PTI.

Two more cases of Omicron were reported in India on Saturday, one from Gujarat and one from Mumbai, taking the total tally to four. The first two cases of Omicron were reported from Karnataka. Gujarat had detected the new variant in a 72-year-old man who had returned from Zimbabwe, and Maharashtra’s health department announced that it had identified a 37-year-old person from Mumbai’s Kalyan-Dombivli infected with the Omicron variant. The person had recently returned from South Africa. Going by the rising number of cases, states have already pulled up their socks and have begun to prepare for the fight against the new Omicron variant. The government of Puducherry on Sunday made Covid-19 vaccination compulsory in the Union Territory with immediate effect. The order stated, “Those violating law will be liable for penal action.”

Meanwhile, India recorded a single-day rise of 8,895 cases of Covid-19 and 2,796 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Over 127 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the Nationwide Vaccination Drive.

Internationally speaking, things don’t look very positive. New York announced three more cases of the omicron on Saturday, bringing the number of state cases linked to the new variant to eight, news agency AP reported. The number of states identifying the variant is also growing. Massachusetts and Washington state announced their first cases on Saturday.

Here are the latest and verified Covid-19 updates from India and around the globe:

Live Blog

22:52 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Assam logs 101 new COVID-19 cases, four fatalities

Assam reported 101 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, 68 less than the previous day’s figure, taking the tally to 6,17,576, a National Health Mission (NHM) bulletin said. The positivity rate increased to 0.63 per cent from 0.59 per cent on Saturday. The COVID-19 death toll rose to 6,120 with four more persons succumbing to the disease on Sunday, one more than the previous day. The deaths were reported from Kamrup Metropolitan, Darrang, Dhemaji, and Jorhat. The number of COVID-19 positive patients dying due to other reasons also remained at 1,347. Altogether 16,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted during the day, pushing the number of clinical examinations in the state to 2,58,76,833. – PTI

22:48 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker:Omicron variant found in almost one-third of U.S. states

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread to about one-third of U.S. states, but the Delta version remains the majority of COVID-19 cases nationwide, U.S. health officials said on Sunday.Though the emergence of the new variant has caused alarm worldwide, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told CNN “thus far it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it” but he added that it was too early to draw definitive conclusions and more study is needed.Fauci also hoped the United States would lift its ban on travelers from southern African countries in a “reasonable period of time.” The South African government has complained it is being punished – instead of applauded – for discovering the new variant and quickly informing international health officials.Fauci praised South Africa for its transparency and said the U.S. travel ban was imposed at a time “when we were really in the dark” and needed time to study the variant.”We all feel very badly about the hardship that that might have put upon not only South Africa but the other African countries,” he added on CNN’s “State of the Union.”At least 15 U.S. states have reported Omicron cases: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to a Reuters tally.

22:43 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Italy reports 43 COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, 15,021 new cases

Italy reported 43 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday compared to 75 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new reported infections fell to 15,021 from 16,632.Italy has registered 134,195 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak began in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world.Patients in hospital with COVID-19 – not including those in intensive care – stood at 5,597 on Sunday, up from 5,428 a day earlier.There were 45 new admissions to intensive care units, down from 59 on Saturday. The total number of intensive care patients increased to 736 from a previous 732.Some 525,108 tests for COVID-19 were carried out in the past day, compared with a previous 636,592, the health ministry said. – Reuters

22:41 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: No death, 22 new cases in Haryana

Haryana recorded no coronavirus-related death, but added 22 fresh infections on Sunday, pushing the case count to 7,71,819, according to the health department’s daily bulletin. The death toll from the pandemic remained unchanged at 10,054, it said. Among the districts, nine new cases were from Gurugram and seven from Faridabad. The number of active cases stands at 162, while that of the recoveries at 7,61,580 in the state. Haryana has a COVID-19 recovery rate of 98.67 per cent, the bulletin said. PTI

22:22 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: MP logs nine new cases; over nine crore vaccine doses administered in state so far

The coronavirus positive tally in Madhya Pradesh rose to 7,93,241 with the addition of nine cases on Sunday, while the number of vaccine doses administered in the state crossed the nine crore-mark, a health official said. The death toll remained unchanged at 10,528 as no fatality was recorded during the day. The state’s recovery count increased to 7,82,580 after 18 patients were discharged from hospitals, he said. There are 133 active coronavirus cases in Madhya Pradesh now. As 56,895 swab samples were examined during the day, the overall test count in MP went up to 2,21,54,405, the official added. – PTI

21:54 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Nagaland reports zero COVID-19 cases, no deaths

Nagaland reported no COVID-19 case on Sunday, making it the second such day since the start of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a health official said. The north-eastern state had reported zero COVID-19 cases on November 20. The COVID-19 death toll in the state also remained at 699 with no reports of any new fatalities. Nagaland’s caseload now stands at 32,136, the official said. The state now has 117 active cases, while 30,255 people have recovered from the disease so far, including one in the last 24 hours. Altogether 1,065 patients have migrated to other states to date. PTI

21:31 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker:TN has not detected any cases of Omicron variant: Govt

Tamil Nadu has not detected any cases of ‘Omicron’ variant and the five international passengers who have tested Covid-19 positive on their arrival from the United Kingdom and Singapore, were suspected to contracted the ‘Delta’ variant of Covid-19, Tamil Nadu Minister Ma Subramanian said on Sunday. The Health and Family Welfare Minister said the five individuals who arrived from the high risk countries were ‘asymptomatic’ and were ‘fine’ at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research hospital in the city. “As per the first level of information, one individual (of the five passengers) has tested Covid-19 negative. Tamil Nadu has not detected any Omicron variant,” he told reporters. Health Department Principal Secretary J Radhakrishnan said the chances of the five people testing positive for Omicron variant was ‘less’. – PTI

21:22 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Belgian police use water, tear gas on COVID-19 protesters

Belgian police used water cannon and tear gas Sunday to disperse some rowdy protesters in Brussels after most demonstrators marched peacefully to protest tightened COVID-19 restrictions that aim to counter a surge of coronavirus infections. Thousands came to reject the new measures announced Friday, the third week in a row that the government has tightened its rules as an avalanche of new cases strains the country’s health services, depriving people with other life-threatening diseases of treatment. – AP

21:21 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Telangana sees 156 new coronavirus cases

Telangana on Sunday recorded 156 fresh COVID-19 cases taking the total number of those affected by the disease in the state to 6,76,943. Out of the new cases, 43 students of a private medical college in Karimnagar district tested positive for COVID-19. The medical students had participated in various events as part of annual day celebrations recently, a health official said adding the college and the hostel has been shut. The toll rose to 3,999 with one more person succumbing to the virus, a medical bulletin said. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 54, followed by Karimnagar 47 and Ranga Reddy 12. – PTI

20:33 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Nine people test positive for Omicron variant of coronavirus in Rajasthan

Nine people test positive for Omicron variant of coronavirus in Rajasthan: Official

19:45 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Surveillance intensifies in Hyderabad

  • We have intensified surveillance mechanism at int’l airport in Hyderabad. 970 passengers arrived in city since Dec 1. Upon screening with RT-PCR, 13 were found positive and they were immediately shifted to chosen facility: Telangana Health Director Dr Srinivas Rao
  • Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing results of which are expected this evening. Only then we will know whether they are Omicron variant or the existing Delta variant: Telangana Health Director Dr Srinivas Rao – ANI

19:10 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: 7 new Omicron cases in Pune

Four persons who returned from foreign tours and three of their close contacts test positive for Omicron variant in Pune: Maharashtra health official 

18:28 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Two test coronavirus positive at Nashik literary meet, contact tracing on: officials

Two women publishers from Pune attending the 94th Marathi literary meet here in Maharashtra have tested positive for coronavirus, civic officials said on Sunday. What raised concerns among officials is that thousands of people had attended the three-day Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan from December 3 to 5. Officials said the two women will be quarantined either in Nashik or will be allowed to travel to their places and authorities concerned will be asked to keep them under observation. Authorities are trying to track the people who had come in contact with the two infected women. These contacts will be tested as per the protocol, according to the officials. – PTI

18:13 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: ‘Omicron’ threat: Telangana ups surveillance mechanism

Amid rising concerns over ‘Omicron’, the new variant of COVID-19, surveillance mechanism has been intensified at the international airport here, a senior health official said on Sunday. Though, no cases of Omicron variant have been reported in Telangana so far, the official said, “It would not be surprising if the new variant gets reported in Hyderabad or Telangana.” The Telangana government has also geared up for the possible third wave and has also intensified vaccination programme, he said. – PTI

17:43 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Four fresh Covid-19 deaths reported in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh reported 154 fresh cases of Covid-19, four deaths and 177 recoveries in 24 hours ending 9 am on Sunday. The latest bulletin showed a total of 20,73,730 positives, 20,57,156 recoveries and 14,452 deaths in the state so far. The number of active cases slid slightly to 2,122, the bulletin said. Chittoor district reported 30, Visakhapatnam 20, West Godavari 18, Guntur 16, Krishna and East Godavari 14 each, Anantapuramu 12 and SPS Nellore 10 fresh cases. The remaining five districts registered less than 10 new cases each. Guntur district reported two more Covid-19 deaths, Krishna and Chittoor one each in a day. (PTI)

17:34 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: German COVID-19 rules put off shoppers, says retailer group

The tighter restrictions Germany has introduced to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 are putting people off from shopping in the usually busy run-up to Christmas, the country’s association of retailers (HDE) said on Sunday.vThe HDE said sales in bricks-and-mortar non-food retail were down an average of 26% in the last week compared to the pre-crisis year of 2019, according to a survey of some 1,600 firms. Clothing retailers were particularly hard hit, with sales down 35% on the pre-crisis level.vVisitor numbers in city centre shopping districts are down 41% compared to 2019. This time last year, restaurants and bars were closed in a partial lockdown and there were limits on the number of people allowed to meet, although stores were open.vGerman officials agreed on Thursday to bar unvaccinated people from accessing all but the most essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and bakeries, and also decided to seek to make vaccination mandatory. “The introduction of stricter coronavirus measures in shops is a dramatic disruption to the Christmas business,” HDE Chief Executive Stefan Genth said in a statement. The HDE is therefore calling on the government to provide more financial support to retailers. Germany recorded 42,055 new infections on Sunday and another 94 deaths, bringing the total death toll to 103,040. “Retailers had placed their hopes on the Christmas business,” Genth said. “But now many retailers are once again moving closer to the precipice with each passing day: a disastrous outlook.” According to HDE estimates, sales losses in the affected non-food retail sector may amount to 5.5 billion euros ($6.22 billion) in December. According to the survey, 77% of firms have negative expectations for the weeks ahead. (Reuters)

17:10 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: 69 people test COVID-19 positive in Karnataka

As many as 69 people including 59 students of the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya here have tested positive for COVID-19 and all are asymptomatic, a health officer said. “We had conducted tests on 457 people in the JNV here, of which 59 students and 10 staff tested positive for COVID-19. They are asymptomatic but we have isolated them,” District Health Officer Dr S N Umesh told PTI. The officer said the test reports of all the people who were tested have arrived and only 69 were found infected. Umesh also said the teaching and other staff in the JNV have been vaccinated. According to sources in the district authorities, the school has been sealed temporarily and doctors and paramedical staff have been deployed there. Rooms are also being sanitised, they added. The schools and colleges, especially residential ones in the state, are witnessing a spurt in COVID-19 cases. However, the severity of the infection and fatality are almost nil in these places as most of the students and staff are asymptomatic. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had recently said that the COVID-19 cases are appearing in two types of clusters — one is the schools and colleges, and second one is the residential apartments. (PTI)

16:55 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Senegal records first Omicron case in tourist who attended demonstration

Senegal has recorded its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in a tourist who attended a demonstration in the capital Dakar last month with about 300 people of varying nationalities, testing lab IRESSEF said on Sunday. The 58-year-old man was visiting from another West African country and tested positive when leaving Senegal on Friday. He is under quarantine and has no symptoms, the lab said in a statement. (Reuters)

16:39 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Odisha registers 189 new COVID cases, 2 more fatalities

Odisha on Sunday reported 189 new COVID-19 cases, four less than the previous day, with the tally rising to 10,50,249, a health department bulletin said. Two more fatalities from Khurda and Cuttack raised the coronavirus death toll to 8,422, it said. Fifty-three other COVID patients have so far died due to comorbidities, the bulletin said. Twenty-five children were among new patients, and 11 of 30 districts of the state did not report any fresh case. Khurda district recorded the highest number of new cases at 83, followed by Sambalpur and Sundargarh at 12 each, the bulletin said. Odisha now has 2,313 active cases, while 10,39,461 people, including 257 in the last 24 hours, have recuperated from the contagion. At least 59,468 samples were tested during the period and the positivity rate was at 0.31 per cent, it said. Nearly 2.81 crore beneficiaries in the state have received the first jab of the coronavirus vaccines, and over 1.64 crore people have been administered both doses. (PTI)

16:17 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Covid positive passenger from Singapore admitted to TN hospital, uncertain if infected with Omicron variant

16:02 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: UK adds pre-departure travel tests, bans travel from Nigeria amid Omicron fears

The UK has re-introduced compulsory pre-departure tests for all travellers entering the country and added Nigeria to its travel ban red list amid fears of the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The UK government said on Saturday that new analysis conducted by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) indicates that the window between infection and infectiousness may be shorter for the Omicron variant, which increases the efficacy of pre-departure testing as it is more likely to identify positive cases before travel. Therefore, starting Tuesday morning, anyone arriving in the UK is required to provide a pre-booked negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or lateral flow test – taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure. This applies to vaccinated passengers and children aged 12 and above. “We knew this winter would be challenging but the arrival of a new variant means we must further strengthen our defences,” said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid. “As our world-leading scientists continue to understand more about the Omicron variant we are taking decisive action to protect public health and the progress of our COVID-19 vaccination programme. I urge everyone to do their bit to slow the spread by following the new travel rules, wearing masks where mandatory and most importantly getting the booster jab when called,” he said.
Under current rules, travellers only needed to self-isolate until they tested negative within two days of arriving into the country. (PTI)

15:48 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: People with ‘hybrid immunity’ are better protected from Omicron, says AIIMS Hyderabad’s executive director

15:35 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Germany’s incoming transport minister advises against Christmas travel

Germany’s incoming transport minister is advising people against traveling over Christmas as the country tries to stem a wave of coronavirus infections. Federal and state leaders on Thursday announced tough new restrictions that largely target unvaccinated people, preventing them from entering nonessential stores, restaurants, sports and cultural venues. In a longer-term move, parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate. Volker Wissing, whose pro-business party has designated him as transport minister in the incoming government, told Sunday’s edition of the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that “in the current situation, it seems more sensible to spend Christmas in a small group at home and not to plan big trips across the country.” “Winter 2021 will be more dramatic than winter 2020,” he added. The new government under center-left Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz is expected to take office on Wednesday, subject to the three parties that will form it signing off on their coalition deal and Scholz winning the backing of a parliamentary majority. At least 68.9% of Germans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, short of the government’s aim of a minimum 75% vaccination rate. The shortfall has been blamed as a key factor in a surge of new virus cases in recent weeks. Official figures suggest that the infection rate may now be stabilizing, but at too high a level. On Sunday, the national disease control center reported 42,055 new daily cases and a seven-day infection rate of 439.2 new cases per 100,000 residents. Another 94 deaths in 24 hours brought Germany’s confirmed total in the pandemic to 103,040. (AP)

15:21 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Uttarakhand on full alert amid Omicron scare

15:12 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Britain tightens testing for inbound travellers, adds Nigeria to red list

Britain will require all inbound travellers to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test and arrivals from Nigeria will have to quarantine in hotels to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, health minister Sajid Javid said on Saturday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that travel restrictions are necessary to slow the spread of Omicron while scientists work to understand more about the transmissibility and implications for vaccine effectiveness of the variant. (Reuters)

14:54 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: South African official says children sick with COVID-19 have mild infections

Higher hospital admissions among children during a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in South Africa that has been driven by the Omicron coronavirus variant should not prompt panic as infections have been mild, a health official said on Saturday. A large number of infants admitted with COVID-19 last month in Tshwane, the metropolitan area that includes the capital Pretoria, raised concerns that the newly identified Omicron could pose greater risks for young children than other variants. (Reuters)

14:46 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Six more U.S. states find Omicron cases, Delta still top U.S. coronavirus threat

Six more U.S. states confirmed infections of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Friday but the Delta strain likely remains a greater threat as winter sets in and Americans gather for the holidays, experts said. New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Utah each reported their first cases of the Omicron variant on Friday. Missouri was awaiting CDC confirmation of a case involving a St. Louis resident who had recently traveled within the United States. (Reuters)

14:32 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Dutch authorities say 18 passengers from South Africa infected with Omicron

Dutch health authorities said on Saturday the final tally of passengers on two flights from South Africa last week who had tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant was 18. The Netherlands’ Institute for Health (RIVM) added in a statement that its investigation on passengers on the two flights has now been wrapped up. (Reuters)

14:13 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Russia records 32,602 fresh cases of Covid-19

RUSSIA REPORTS 32,602 NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES IN PAST 24 HOURS (Reuters)

13:52 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: South Korea records 3 more Omicron cases

South Korea on Sunday reported three more Omicron coronavirus variant cases, bringing its total confirmed so far to 12, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. It reported 5,128 new COVID-19 cases for Saturday, a slight decline after reporting a record daily tally of 5,352 a day earlier. The country has reported a total of 473,034 cases, with 3,852 deaths. From Monday, people visiting 14 designated public spaces, including hospitality and entertainment venues, will have to show their vaccine passes, as the government sets out a plan to reduce the risk of community spread. The public will have a grace period of a week to get used to the new rules. (Reuters)

13:40 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Tanzania returnee in Maharashtra had taken both doses of Covid vaccine

13:21 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Maharashtra’s Omicron patient stable, responding well to treatment, says Official

The 33-year-old man from Maharashtra’s Thane district, who had tested positive for the Omicron variant of coronavirus, is in a “stable” condition and is responding well to the medical treatment, a senior health official said on Sunday. The marine engineer is currently undergoing treatment at a COVID-19 care centre in Kalyan town, located about 50 km from the state capital Mumbai. Samples of six other people, who tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Kalyan-Dombivli area of Thane district from different countries, have been sent for genome sequencing and the results are awaited, another official said. The marine engineer, a resident of Dombivli town, arrived in Delhi from South Africa on November 23 and had given his samples for COVID-19 testing at the Delhi airport. He had then taken a flight to Mumbai, sources earlier said. “He is stable and responding well to treatment,” deputy director of health services, Mumbai circle, Dr Gauri Rathod told PTI. The patient will continue to be treated at the COVID-19 care centre in Kalyan and will not be shifted elsewhere, she said. He will undergo the treatment protocol, as prescribed for the Omicron variant, for 14 days, the official said. Besides this patient, six other people who had travelled from different countries to the Kalyan-Dombivli area, have tested positive for the coronavirus and are kept in isolation, Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation’s epidemic cell chief Dr Pratibha Panpatil said. They include four from Nigeria, and one each from Russia and Nepal. Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing and the results will be known in the coming days, Dr Panpatil said. “The condition of all the six is stable. They are asymptomatic and none of them had come from high-risk countries,” she added. Cases of the Omicron variant have also been detected in Karnataka, Gujarat and Delhi. According to the Centre, the countries designated as “at-risk” are European countries, including the UK, and South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel. Under the new norms, RT-PCR tests are mandatory for passengers arriving from the “at-risk” countries and they will be allowed to leave the airport only after the results come. Also, two per cent of the passengers arriving by flights from other countries will be subjected to the test randomly. (PTI)

12:56 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Australia regulator approves Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to11

Australia’s medicine regulator on Sunday provisionally approved the Pfizer Inc coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11, with the health minister saying the rollout could begin from Jan. 10. The Therapeutics Goods Administration “have made a careful, thorough assessment, determined that it is safe and effective and that it is in the interests of children and Australians for children 5 to 11 to be vaccinated,” said Health Minister Greg Hunt. After initial delays with its general COVID-19 inoculation programme, Australia has swiftly become one of the world’s most-vaccinated countries, with nearly 88% of Australians over the age of 16 having received two doses. The high vaccination has helped slow the spread of the virus and promote a speedy economic recovery, with the government planning to raise its 2022 growth forecast within weeks. The efficacy of vaccines against the new Omicron variant, which is spreading in Australia, remains unknown. The most populous state, New South Wales, reported two more Omicron cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 15 cases, and the Australian Capital Territory confirmed its second. Parliament House was closed over the weekend to the public until further notice after a staffer to a member of parliament tested positive to COVID-19 after the legislature’s final sitting week of the year on Friday. The variant of that infection case has not been disclosed, but health authorities said the staff was fully vaccinated. While nationwide vaccinations are voluntary, states and territories have mandated shots for many occupations, and some require full vaccination to access most hospitality services and non-essential retail. Australia’s overall childhood immunisation coverage is also one of the highest in the world, with 95% of 5-year-olds inoculated with vaccines recommended for their age, health data showed. The Pfizer vaccine for those children still needs the approval of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. Once approved, it will be available to about 2.3 million children in the 5-to-11 age group. Despite battling many outbreaks this year, leading to months of lockdown in Sydney and Melbourne – Australia’s largest cities – the country has had only about 834 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7.9 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organisation, a fraction of the toll in many other developed nations. Australia has had just under 217,000 cases in total and 2,042 deaths. (Reuters)

12:30 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: US makes it mandatory for all incoming passengers to carry negative COVID-19 test report

The US has made it mandatory for all incoming passengers, including those from India, to carry a negative COVID-19 test report or a proof of recovery from the contagion amidst rising number of cases of the new Omicron variant. The new protocol comes into effect from December 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has said. “This amendment updates COVID-19 testing requirements for air passengers 2 years or older boarding a flight to the United States,” Indian government officials informed Indian-American community leaders on Saturday. As per the new amended order, effectively for flights departing to the US from a foreign country at or after 12:01 AM EST (5:01 AM GMT or 10:31 AM IST) on December 6, 2021, passengers are required show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel. Documentation of a negative SARS-CoV-2 viral test result from specimen collected no more than 1 calendar day preceding the passenger’s flight to the United States or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight. “Air passengers will also be required to confirm in the form of an attestation that the information they present is true,” officials said. The 1-day period is 1 day before the flight’s departure. The order uses a 1-day time frame instead of 24 hours to provide more flexibility to the air passenger and aircraft operator. By using a 1-day window, test acceptability does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day that the test sample was taken, the circular explained. (PTI)

12:18 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: COVID-19 vaccination now compulsory in Puducherry

The Union Territory of Puducherry has made it mandatory for all persons to get the COVID-19 vaccine to achieve cent per cent coverage and said those skipping it would face penal action under law. The Director of Health and Family Welfare Services G.Sriramulu stated this in an order on Saturday night and said it woud come into immediate effect. The government has invoked the provisions of the Puducherry Public Health Act 1973 to implement compulsory vaccination. “Those skipping the vaccination will face penal action as per provisions of the Act”, the Director said. A senior health department official, who did not wish to be named, said the decision was taken as the government intended to achieve cent per cent coverge of all eligible people and there should be no room for spread of the virus. The official said there is a provision in the public health act which states that in a pandemic situation, certain aggressive measures are required to be taken.(PTI)

12:12 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Arunachal Pradesh logs two fresh COVID-19 cases, three recoveries

Arunachal Pradesh’s COVID-19 tally rose to 55,288 on Sunday after two more persons tested positive for the infection, a senior health official said here. A total of 54,976 people have recuperated from the disease so far in the northeastern state including, three on Saturday, the official said. The COVID-19 death toll in the state remained at 280 as no fresh fatality was registered in the past 24 hours, State Surveillance Officer (SSO) Dr Lobsang Jampa said. The northeastern state now has 32 active COVID-19 cases, he said. Arunachal Pradesh had reported one new COVID-19 case on Saturday. (PTI)

11:51 (IST)05 Dec 2021
More omicron cases detected in US as hospitals strain under virus surge

New York announced three more cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the number of state cases linked to the new variant to eight. “The omicron variant is here, and as anticipated we are seeing the beginning of community spread,” state Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a news release. The number of states finding the variant is growing as well, with authorities in New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Maryland reporting their first confirmed cases Friday, and Missouri reporting its first presumed case. The variant also has been detected in Nebraska, Minnesota, California, Hawaii, Colorado and Utah. In New York, seven of the cases have been found in New York City, once a global epicentre of the pandemic, and the other in Suffolk County. The arrival of omicron comes as hospitals statewide continue to strain under a surge in coronavirus cases, most traced to the delta variant, along with staffing shortages. The number of people testing positive statewide each day for the virus has doubled in the last 30 days. Governor Kathy Hochul in recent days has authorized the Health Department to limit nonessential, non-urgent procedures at hospitals close to running out of beds and deployed National Guard teams to relieve healthcare workers at facilities dealing with staffing issues and surging caseloads. Fifteen members of the National Guard arrived at Monroe Community Hospital in Rochester on Saturday, WROC reported. Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin said Wednesday the state would send 13 National Guard teams to the western New York county, where County Executive Adam Bello has declared a state of emergency. Five cases in Northern California were linked to a wedding in Wisconsin late last month, public health officials said. One of the individuals had recently returned from travelling internationally, according to the Alameda County Department of Public Health. Health officials confirmed six new cases of the variant in southeastern Nebraska. State health officials said the state’s first case likely stemmed from one of the six who recently travelled to Nigeria and returned on Nov. 23. Colorado detected the state’s second case of the omicron variant just a day after the state’s first confirmed case, officials said Friday. “We knew the omicron variant was coming and we expect to see more cases. But let me be clear: We are not defenseless,” Hochul said. (AP) 

11:34 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: First Omicron case detected in Delhi

11:32 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Mizoram logs 282 new COVID-19 cases, 1 fresh fatality

Mizoram’s COVID-19 tally rose to 1,36,362 on Sunday as 282 more people tested positive for the infection, 33 less than the previous day, a health official said. A 56-year-old man from Mamit district succumbed to the infection, taking the northeastern state’s death toll to 505, he said. Aizawl registered the highest number of new cases at 149, followed by Khawzawl (30) and Lunglei (28), the official said. The single-day positivity rate dipped to 10.66 per cent from 12.63 per cent on the previous day. Mizoram now has 3,555 active cases, while 1,32,302 people have recovered from the disease so far, including 346 on Saturday. The recovery rate among the COVID-19 patients stood at 97 per cent, while the mortality rate was at 0.37 per cent. The state has thus far tested over 14.44 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 2,646 on Saturday. State Immunisation Officer Dr Lalzawmi said that 7.22 lakh people have been inoculated so far, of whom 5.66 lakh have been fully vaccinated. (PTI)

11:16 (IST)05 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Ladakh records 14 new Covid-19 cases

Ladakh’s coronavirus caseload increased to 21,683 on Sunday with 14 fresh infections, officials said. The death toll remained unchanged at 215. Of these, 157 deaths have been reported from Leh and 59 from Kargil. The number of active cases in the union territory dropped to 298 — 277 in Leh and 21 in Kargil — from 311 the previous day, according to the officials. The officials said 1,900 people were tested for COVID-19 in Leh and Kargil on Saturday. Of these, 14 tested positive for the viral disease in Leh. They said 23 patients were discharged from hospitals in Leh and four in Kargil, taking the total number of recoveries in Ladakh to 21,170. (PTI)

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