Omicron Variant Cases and Deaths in India Highlights, Covid-19 Booster Vaccine Registration January 26 Highlights: India on Wednesday recorded a sharp surge in daily coronavirus cases with 2,85,914 fresh Covid-19 infections detected in past 24 hours. Another major sign of worry was the fatality numbers. For the second consecutive day, India saw over 600 Covid deaths today. The health bulletin states that 665 Indians lost their lives due to the corona complications in span of 1 day. The positivity rate stands at 16.16 per cent, the government data shows. Meanwhile, there was some relief today in terms of active Covid cases in the country. At 22,23,018, India saw a reduction of over 13,000 cases today.
The consistent drop in daily cases across India may not be the good news one is thinking it to be. Why? Simply because that’s not the real picture. An Indian Express report shows how the daily cases dropped in Maharashtra, which corresponded with the decline in testing in the state. In terms of numbers, there was a 30 per cent drop in daily cases between Sunday and Monday. And between these two days, the average Covid tests conducted in the state also dropped by 27 per cent. So, when we see on national level, a drop of over 50,000 cases, what does it mean?
Low testing has been an issue with the coronavirus pandemic in India. Both in first and the second wave, health experts had said that India is testing far less and we may never know the real extent of viral transmission. Looks like we have not learnt any lesson from the past. As soon as the numbers started rising, the states scaled back the testing. This needs to be looked into. Not just Maharashtra but elsewhere also. Because, Omicron is anyway making it difficult to detect, if we don’t increase our testing, we may miss out on possible new variants or any other mutation in the virus.
What do you need to know about the coronavirus contagion today? Follow FE Online’s Live blog for more:
Twenty-two more people died of COVID-19 in Punjab, while 5,136 fresh cases pushed the infection tally to 7,28,042, according to a medical bulletin issued here on Wednesday. The fresh deaths were reported from several districts including Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mansa and Mohali. The death toll in the state has now climbed to 17,081, as per the bulletin. The number of active Covid cases is 40,319. (PTI)
Bihar reported 2,120 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, 242 less than the previous day, taking the tally to 8,17,824, a bulletin issued by the health department said. Seven coronavirus patients died in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 12,204. Four persons had died of the infection on Tuesday. At least 4,827 people were cured of the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 7,93,024, the bulletin said. (PTI)
Maharashtra tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray on Wednesday said the chief minister will review the coronavirus situation next week and take decision about reopening tourist places and monuments in the state.
He was speaking to reporters after holding a meeting of tourism department officials. “Covid infection figures in Aurangabad have not yet come down much. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will review the situation next week and decide about opening the monuments and tourist places,” Aaditya Thackeray said. (PTI)
Chhattisgarh's COVID-19 count rose to 11,08,450 on Wednesday with an addition of 3,318 fresh cases, while the death toll increased to 13,779 after 10 more patients succumbed to the infection in the state, an official said. The daily figure was lower than 4,914 cases registered a day ago when the state had also recorded 23 deaths. The state's average positivity rate was 15.81 per cent on Wednesday, he said. The rate indicates the percentage of people who test positive for the virus of those overall who have been tested. The number of recoveries reached 10,65,491 after 110 people were discharged from hospitals, while 4,272 others completed their home isolation during the day, the official said. (PTI)
Fifty four per cent of Delhiites are in favour of lifting the odd-even restrictions in markets but want the weekend curfew to continue till the positivity rate declines to five per cent, a survey has claimed. Delhi had seen an uptick in COVID-19 infections, mainly triggered by the Omicron variant, but the cases have seen a decline over the last 10 days. LocalCircles, a digital community-based platform, asked in its survey, 'What should be the criteria to remove current COVID-related restrictions (weekend and night curfew, market odd-even shops, etc.) imposed in Delhi?' In response, 40 per cent people said market odd-even restrictions should be relaxed but night and weekend curfew should continue until the positivity rate dropped to five per cent. Another 18 per cent people were of the opinion that the restrictions should be eased only when the positivity rate dropped to five per cent. (PTI)
Mizoram on Wednesday reported 1,756 new COVID-19 cases, two less than the previous day, with the tally mounting to 1,64, 127, a health department official said. The single-day positivity rate stood at 25.89 per cent as the fresh infections were detected from 6,780 sample tests, he said. At least 251 children were among the newly infected people. Aizawl district reported the highest number of fresh cases at 1,087, followed by Mamit at 160 and Lunglei at 108. (PTI)
Maharashtra on Wednesday recorded 35,756 new coronavirus cases, up from 33,914 logged a day ago, while deaths linked to the infection remained high at 79, the state health department said. No new case of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus was reported in the state, the department said in a bulletin. With these additions, the state's COVID-19 caseload rose to 76,05,181, while the death toll reached 1,42,316, it said. On Tuesday, the state had reported 86 deaths linked to the infection. Till date, a total of 2,858 patients have been found infected with the highly contagious Omicron variant in the state of which 1,534 have already recovered. (PTI)
Assam reports 1,951 fresh COVID cases, 7,365 recoveries, and 21 deaths today
Active cases: 36,063 (ANI)
The COVID-19 tally in Madhya Pradesh rose to 9,24,161 on Wednesday after detection of 9,966 new cases, while death toll increased to 10,591 after eight more patients succumbed to the infection in the state, a health department official said. The positivity rate reduced to 12.3 per cent from 13 per cent on Tuesday, when the state had registered 9,451 cases, he said. The rate indicates the percentage of people who test positive for the virus of those overall who have been tested. The recovery count stood at 8,41,346 after 8,604 people were discharged from hospitals during the day, he said.
The state is now left with an active tally of 72,224, the official said. (PTI)
New COVID-19 infections dropped below 30,000 in Tamil Nadu as it added 29,976 cases on Wednesday, pushing the caseload to 32,24,236, the health department said. As many as 47 more people succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours, mounting the death toll to 37,359 till date, a medical bulletin said. New COVID-19 infections have been hovering over 30,000 over the last few days and Tamil Nadu has been witnessing a declining trend after reaching a peak of 30,744 cases on January 22. Meanwhile, recoveries were marginally less compared to new cases with 27,507 people getting discharged in the last 24 hours, aggregating to 29,73,185 leaving 2,13,692 active infections, the bulletin said. (PTI)
Registering a surge in numbers again, Karnataka on Wednesday reported 48,905 new cases of COVID-19 and 39 fatalities, taking the tally to 36,54,413, and death toll to 38,705. The state on Tuesday had reported a dip in daily cases at 41,400. There were 41,699 discharges, taking the total number of recoveries to 32,57,769, a bulletin said. Of the new cases, 22,427 were from Bengaluru Urban that saw 18,734 people being discharged and 8 virus-related deaths. The total number of active cases across the state is now at 3,57,909. (PTI)
The United States has shipped 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need as part of its earlier pledge to donate more than 1.1 billion doses to low-income countries, a White House spokesman said on Twitter, confirming a CNN report. The latest batch includes 3.2 million doses of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech's vaccine to Bangladesh and 4.7 million doses to Pakistan, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing a White House official. The Biden administration had previously vowed to donate a second tranche of 500 million doses to the COVAX global vaccine sharing program, raising its total pledge to more than 1.1 billion COVID vaccine doses, with the latest batch expected to start shipping this month. (Reuters)
Gujarat reports 14,781 fresh COVID cases, 20,829 recoveries, and 21 deaths in the last 24 hours
Active cases: 1,28,192
Total recoveries: 9,69,234
Death toll: 10,323 (ANI)
Nagaland on Wednesday logged 130 new COVID-19 cases, 34 less than the previous day, pushing the tally to 33,948, a health official said. As no fresh death was reported in the last 24 hours, the coronavirus fatality figure remained unchanged at 708. Nagaland now has 828 active cases, while 31,049 people have recuperated from the disease so far, including 62 in the last 24 hours, the official said. The recovery rate among coronavirus patients stood at 91.46 per cent. (PTI)
Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday recorded 5,606 fresh cases of coronavirus, raising its tally to 4,14,172, while eight more deaths pushed the toll to 4,635, officials said. Of the fresh cases, 1,353 were reported from the Jammu division and 5,253 from the Kashmir division of the union territory, they said. The officials said Srinagar district recorded the highest of 1,305 cases, followed by 803 cases in Budgam district. (PTI)
Eight people succumbed to COVID-19 and 801 fresh cases were registered in Himachal Pradesh in 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 3,944 and the total case tally to 2,63,914, a health official said on Wednesday. A 21-year-old woman from Kangra was the youngest among the six men and two women that passed away due to the virus on Wednesday, he said. Four of the eight deaths were reported in Kangra, two in Solan and one each in Sirmaur and Mandi, he said. (PTI)
The Delhi government will recommend the reopening of schools in the national capital in the DDMA meeting as it has now become necessary to prevent further damage to the social and emotional well-being of children, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday. Asserting that online education can never replace offline education, Sisodia said the government had closed schools when it was not safe for children, but excessive caution is now harming students. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has called a meeting on Thursday to deliberate on easing the curbs in the national capital in view of the improved situation of COVID-19. The issue of reopening schools is also on the agenda. (PTI)
Like other sectors, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent curbs have badly hit the learning ability of schoolchildren in Chhattisgarh, where the percentage of students unable to recognise even alphabet letters in beginner-level classes has doubled in 2021 as compared to 2018, according to a report. According to Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021 for Chhattisgarh, in the pre-COVID-19 period (2014-2018) basic learning outcomes in the state had been improving, but the pandemic, which hit India in March 2020 and led to school closures, has caused a very serious 'learning loss'. Children's foundational reading and arithmetic levels have dropped substantially between 2018 and 2021, especially in primary classes, it added. The report is based on a survey of 45,992 children in the age category of 3-16 years in 33,432 households across 28 districts of Chhattisgarh. The survey, which covered 1,647 schools, was conducted in the pandemic-hit year on special request of the state government, a senior official said. (PTI)
Telangana on Wednesday recorded 3,801 fresh COVID-19 cases taking the tally to 7,47,155, while the death toll rose to 4,078 with one more fatality. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) reported the highest number of daily cases with 1,570, followed by Rangareddy (284) and Medchal Malkajgiri (254) districts, a state government bulletin said, providing details as of 5.30 PM today. The state had registered 4,559 new cases on Tuesday. (PTI)
Mumbai reported 1,858 new coronavirus infections and 13 deaths on Wednesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said in a release. The city has been reporting fewer than 2,000 cases for the last three days. The caseload of the financial capital of the country went up to 10,40,363, while death toll rose to 16,569. The new daily cases were hovering over 2,000 since December 29, 2021. With 1,656 patients being discharged from hospitals on Wednesday, the tally of recoveries increased to 9,98,698. There are 22,364 active patients in the city now. (PTI)
Sweden announced Wednesday that several coronavirus restrictions will be extended for another two weeks while neighbouring Denmark was expected to announce that it no longer considers COVID-19 as “a socially critical disease” as of next month and will remove most restrictions. “We have an extremely record high spread of infection,” Sweden's Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren said. “The assessment is that existing measures need to remain in place for another two weeks”. “If the situation allows it, the restrictions will be lifted after that,” she said. (AP)
Denmark and Austria on Wednesday became the latest countries to ease COVID-19 restrictions, following similar moves by Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, while other countries in Europe planned new measures to battle record numbers of infections. The European region as a whole no longer accounts for half or more than half of global deaths and infections according to Reuters COVID-19 data, but the numbers remain high, with particular concern in countries with lower vaccination rates. Germany, Poland, Hungary, the Czech republic, Bulgaria and Romania all reported record daily infection totals on Wednesday and the German parliament prepared to debate proposals to either require or robustly encourage residents to be vaccinated. Poland will move older school students to remote learning from Thursday and Sweden said it would extend its current pandemic measures by another two weeks after seeing the Omicron variant spreading at record speed. Austria, which had imposed a lockdown on those unvaccinated, said that was no longer justifiable given there were now fewer people in hospital due to COVID-19, although the unvaccinated would still be barred from a range of leisure activities. With more than 10 million new cases, infections in Europe rose 13% last week compared to the one before, according to data from the World Health Organization, with France, Italy and Germany logging the highest numbers. (Reuters)
Delhi reports 7,498 fresh COVID cases, 11,164 recoveries, and 29 deaths in the last 24 hours
Today's positivity rate: 10.59%
Active cases: 38,315 (ANI)
Kerala reports 49,771 fresh COVID cases, 34,439 recoveries, and 63 deaths in the last 24 hours
Active cases: 3,00,556
Death toll: 52,281 (77 deaths added to COVID death as per Centre's guidelines) (ANI)
Romania on Wednesday recorded a huge jump in COVID-19 infections, hitting a pandemic record of nearly 35,000 daily cases, almost doubling its previous record set only a day earlier. Deaths have also begun to climb. Daily coronavirus cases in Romania have dramatically surged over the past month, from about a 1,000 cases a day in mid-December to the pandemic record of 34,255 cases on Wednesday. Its daily death toll was 94, also the highest number of virus deaths in more than a month. Three-quarters of those deaths were unvaccinated people and more than 80 per cent of the 692 COVID-19 patients now in intensive care in Romania have also not been jabbed, official data shows. (AP)
The number of active Covid-19 cases in Delhi has halved in just 12 days after rising to a high of 94,160 on January 13, while it took 21 days for the active caseload to drop by half during the second wave last year. The third wave of the pandemic saw the active cases peaking to 94,160 on January 13. The number dropped to 42,010 by Tuesday. During the ferocious second wave last year, active cases had risen to a high of 99,752 on April 28 and the number reduced to 45,047 by May 19. Experts said the decline in cases is in line with their expectations. (PTI)
Repeated COVID-19 testing of millions of Beijing residents is starting to test the patience of some as the city clamps down on the virus ahead of the coming Winter Olympics. A third round of mass testing for the 2 million residents of Fengtai district got underway Wednesday. Residents bundled up against the wind as they waited in line under sunny skies, with the daytime high hovering around the freezing point. An official announcement of the testing on social media late Tuesday drew dozens of critical comments, which were echoed by some Fengtai residents the following morning. “I think it is too frequent,” said a woman who only gave her surname, Ma. “I just did it yesterday and was asked to do it again today. I asked the question to the staff and they said, Under the principle of testing everyone who should be tested, just do it since you are here.' The Chinese capital reported 14 new local cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total in the ongoing delta variant outbreak to about 50. Nationwide, the National Health Commission reported 24 new non-imported cases. (AP)
Andhra Pradesh logged 13,618 fresh cases of Covid-19, 8,687 recoveries and nine deaths in the 24 hours ending 9 am on Wednesday. The daily infection positivity rate hovered around 30 per cent. The latest bulletin said the total active cases climbed to 1,06,318. The gross positive cases now went up to 22,22,573, recoveries to 21,01,685 and deaths 14,570, the bulletin said. (PTI)
Sikkim on Wednesday reported 206 new Covid-19 cases, 31 less than the previous day's count, pushing the tally to 37,539, a health department bulletin said. It said one fresh fatality took the death toll to 425. Sikkim currently has 1,928 active cases, while 600 patients have migrated out and 34,586 people have recovered from coronavirus. Sikkim's Covid-19 daily positivity rate now is 16 per cent, while the daily recovery rate is 94 per cent. East Sikkim district recorded 102 new positive cases followed by 66 in West Sikkim, 35 in South Sikkim and three in North Sikkim. (PTI)
The regular market approval from DCGI to Covishield and Covaxin is expected soon, but only after price fixation which is still underway: Official sources (ANI)
The COVID-19 death toll in Ladakh has climbed to 223 following a fatality in Kargil, while 218 fresh cases pushed the overall tally to 25,036 in the union territory, officials said on Wednesday. The number of active cases in Ladakh has gone up to 1,317, which includes 1,023 cases in Leh district and 294 cases in Kargil district, they said. With lone death being reported from Kargil, the total death count has reached 223, that include 164 fatalities in Leh and 59 in Kargil. (PTI)
The World Health Organisation said there were 21 million new coronavirus cases reported globally last week, the highest weekly number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the pandemic began. The number of deaths was largely unchanged, at more than 50,000. In its weekly assessment of the pandemic, issued late Tuesday, the UN health agency said the number of new coronavirus infections rose by 5 per cent and that the rate of increase appears to be slowing; only half of regions reported an increase in COVID-19. Earlier this month, the previous highest number of cases — 9.5 million — was recorded amid a 71 per cent spike from the week before, as the hugely contagious omicron variant swept the world. (AP)
An ICMR study has demonstrated that individuals infected with Omicron have significant immune response which could neutralise not only the Omicron, but also other variants of concern, including the most prevalent Delta variant. It suggests that the immune response induced by the Omicron could effectively neutralise the Delta variant, making the re-infection with Delta variant less likely, thereby displacing the Delta as dominant strain, the study said emphasising upon the need for Omicron-specific vaccine strategy. The study was conducted on 39 individuals, of which 25 had taken both the doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, eight people had taken double dose of Pfizer jab, while six were unvaccinated. (PTI)
Austria will end its lockdown for unvaccinated residents next Monday, one day before a COVID-19 vaccine mandate takes effect in the country, the government announced Wednesday, according to Austrian news agency APA. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said the measure, which was introduced in November, was no longer needed because there was no threat of hospital intensive care units being overstretched, APA reported. For weeks, the lockdown for the unvaccinated has been — a measure that many people complained about, but that was unavoidable for health policy reasons,” Nehammer said. On February 1, a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for adults — the first of its kind in Europe — will take effect in the small Alpine country. (AP)
Meghalaya on Wednesday recorded 392 new COVID-19 cases, five less than the previous day, pushing the tally to 89,553, a senior health department official said. Health Services Director Dr Aman War said the COVID-19 death toll rose to 1,503 with one more fatality. He said of the 392 new cases, 178 were reported from East Khasi Hills district, West Garo Hills (48), Ri Bhoi (11), South West Garo Hills (4), three cases each from East Garo Hills and South Garo Hills, two cases each from Eastern West Khasi Hills, West Jaintia Hills and West Khasi Hills district. (PTI)
The price of Covishield and Covaxin, the two Covid vaccines administered in India are expected to soon get regular market approval from India's drug regulator and is likely to be capped at Rs 275 per dose plus an additional service charge of Rs 150, a move to make vaccines more affordable.
Elton John is the latest celebrity who has tested positive for Covid 19. A Reuters report says that the 'Candle in the Wind' singer has cancelled his US tour. He is likely to resume the farewell tour during the weekend. Back home in India, Telegu superstar Chiranjeevi has also contracted the virus, a PTI report states.
Over 21 million new coronavirus cases were reported around the world last week, according to the World Health Organisation. The global health body finds that the Omicron variant is becoming dominant due to its higher secondary attack rate and significant growth advantage as compared to the Delta. The update also mentioned that many countries are now reporting community transmission of the variant.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead warned that the next variant of concern will be more contagious because it will have to overtake what is currently circulating but nothing can be said if the future variants will be more or less severe.
She also advised to not buy theories that the virus will continue to mutate into milder strains that make people less sick than earlier variants.
Delhi has been witnessing a drop in fresh infections over the last week. Infections were marginally higher (4.7 per cent) than yesterday (5,760) but Delhi's positivity rate has dropped to 10.55 per cent from 11.79 per cent. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the curbs in the city – brought in due to surge in cases – are likely to be removed soon.
The health ministry's bulletin shows the over 2,85,914 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours. This is a sharp increase from Tuesday's figures. Covid deaths continue to remain on high side with over 600 fatalities recorded for second day running.
Amid reports of how Omicron is the 'natural' vaccine and the pandemic will become like a flu in no time, the WHO has warned that such assumptions are very misleading. the WHO has said that vaccine equity should be a priority for all nations especially the global powers.
Health Experts are worried that the faltering booster drive in the US may overburden the health infra. An AP report says that just 40 per cent of fully-vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the average number of booster shots dispensed per day in the US has plummeted from a peak of one million (10 lakh) in early December to about 4.9 lakh as of last week.