Coronavirus Omicron December 9 Highlights: SEC to hold meeting tomorrow on Covid booster doses; India extends ban on scheduled international flights till January 31

Covid-19 India Live News, New Omicron Variant Cases in India, Coronavirus Vaccine Statistics and Registration Latest Update, December 9 Highlights: Fresh guidelines for hostels as Covid clusters emerge in Karnataka; India removes Singapore from list of ‘at-risk’ nations; 13 foreign returnees test Covid positive in Tamil Nadu; samples sent for genome sequencing fearing Omicron

Coronavirus Omicron India Live Updates: India's Covid-19 vaccination coverage crosses 130 crore; Pfizer says Covid booster offers protection against Omicron
Coronavirus Omicron India Live Updates: A health worker conducts COVID-19 testing of commuters amid fear of spread of a new variant of COVID-19, in Bengaluru. (PTI Photo)

Coronavirus Vaccine Registration, Coronavirus Omicron Variant Cases in India Updates:  In the wake of new COVID-19 clusters emerging and the threats of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, the Karnataka government on Thursday decided to focus on cluster management and to issue fresh guidelines to hostels, aimed at controlling spread of the infection. Not wanting to take any “hasty decision” regarding imposing curbs, it said, a decision regarding such measures like night curfew and restrictions on Christmas and New Year celebrations will be taken after analysing the situation for a week.

“Regarding COVID, our Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) head Dr M K Sudarshan has informed about the current situation, he has shared details about the Omicron variant. According to him, looking at the current figures and the positivity rate, there is no need for any major concern or worry,” Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said.

ALSO READ — Will India roll out booster jabs to combat Omicron threat?

The chief minister said the government still felt it is necessary to take certain precautionary measures, like issuing new guidelines for hostels and their management like- sanitising, letting people for food in a staggered way, restricting visitors, double dose vaccination for all staff working there, and setting up a separate isolation room. “We have already given similar guidelines for cluster management and have said that if there are more than three positive cases in a place it will be declared clusters, and such measures will continue,” he said, adding that on the advice of the Ministers special vaccination drive will also be held, like it was held earlier this year.

India logs 9,419 new Covid-19 cases

According to the Union Health Ministry data, 9,419 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in a day on Wednesday, while the count of active cases stands at 94,742. The death toll due to the disease has climbed to 4,74,111, with 159 daily fatalities being recorded, according to the data updated at 8 am. An increase of 1,009 cases has been recorded in the total active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

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

Live Blog

Highlights

    22:40 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: CU to conduct semester exams in online mode due to new COVID variant

    With the Omicron variant of coronavirus surfacing in various states of the country,  Calcutta University has decided to hold the examinations of the first, third and fifth semesters at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in online mode in January and  February. Calcutta University Vice-Chancellor Sonali Chakrabarty Banerjee said Thursday, as a new variant of COVID-19 has emerged, the syndicate at a meeting decided to conduct the tests in digital mode at present. Classes have already started at UG and PG levels, in over 150 affiliated colleges and on the university campus respectively on alternate dates, both in offline and online modes. The VC said exams of the third and fifth semesters at UG-level and third semester at PG-level will be held in January. (PTI)

    22:37 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Both reports of all 9 Omicron positive patients admitted in RUHS hospital, Jaipur come negative

    Both reports of all the 9 positive patients admitted in RUHS hospital, Jaipur comes negative. All discharged from hospital, advised to remain in home quarantine for 7 days: Rajasthan Health Department (ANI)

    22:34 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Omicron shadow looms on Rahul Gandhi’s Mumbai rally

    Ahead of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s December 28 rally in Mumbai, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday said the authorities will have to “think about it” if the newly discovered Omicron variant of coronavirus spreads. Pawar made the remark when a reporter asked whether permission should be given to the Congress leader’s rally in view of the situation caused by Omicron, the variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus found in Africa last month that is causing worries worldwide. “We are taking information about it (Omicron situation) every day. In case it (the variant) spreads and if there is a doubt that huge crowds can lead to some different (undesirable) situation, then (authorities) will have to think about it,” he told media persons. (PTI)

    22:11 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: FDA expands Pfizer COVID booster, opens extra dose to age 16

    The US is expanding COVID-19 boosters, ruling that 16- and 17-year-olds can get a third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine. The US and many other nations already were urging adults to get booster shots to pump up immunity that can wane months after vaccination, calls that intensified with the discovery of the worrisome new omicron variant. On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for 16- and 17-year-olds to get a third dose of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech — if it’s been six months since their last shot. There’s one more step: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must formally recommend the boosters for this age group and a decision is expected soon. The Pfizer vaccine is the only option in the US for anyone younger than 18, either for initial vaccination or for use as a booster. It’s not yet clear if or when teens younger than 16 might need a third Pfizer dose. Vaccinations for children as young as 5 just began last month, using special low-dose Pfizer shots. By this week, about 5 million 5- to 11-year-olds had gotten a first dose. The extra-contagious delta variant is causing nearly all COVID-19 infections in the US, and in much of the world. It’s not yet clear how vaccines will hold up against the  new and markedly different omicron mutant. But there’s strong evidence that boosters offer a jump in protection against delta-caused infections, currently the biggest threat. (AP)

    22:08 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Delhi records 55 new cases; positivity rate 0.09%

    Delhi on Thursday recorded zero death due to COVID-19 and 55 fresh cases with a positivity rate of 0.09 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department. The number of cumulative cases stood at 14,41,569. According to the health department, more than 14.16 lakh patients have recovered from the infection. The death toll due to the coronavirus infection in Delhi stands at 25,100. Two deaths have been recorded in December so far due to coronavirus infection — December 6 and December 8. Seven COVID-19 deaths were reported here in November this year, the highest count of fatalities due to the infection in the last three months in the national capital, according to official data. Delhi had recorded four Covid deaths in October and five in September. (PTI)

    21:46 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Italy reports 79 coronavirus deaths on Thursday, 12,527 new cases

    Italy reported 79 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday against 86 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 12,527 from 17,959. Italy has registered 134,551 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.94 million cases to date. Patients in hospital with COVID-19 – not including those in intensive care – stood at 6,333 on Thursday, up from 6,099 a day earlier .There were 69 new admissions to intensive care units, increasing from 62 on Wednesday. The total number of intensive care patients rose to 811 from a previous 791. (Reuters)

    21:44 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Britain records 50,867 new COVID cases, 148 deaths

    Britain recorded 50,867 new cases of COVID-19 and a further 148 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, official daily statistics showed. On a seven-day basis, cases are up 8% on the week before, with deaths up 0.7%. (Reuters)

    21:34 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Chhattisgarh sees 40 COVID-19 cases, no death; active tally now 352

    Chhattisgarh’s COVID-19 tally reached 10,07,115 on Thursday after 40 cases were detected, while the death toll remained unchanged at 13,594, an official said. The recovery count was 9,93,169 after nine people were discharged from hospitals and 20 completed home isolation during the day, leaving Chhattisgarh with an active tally of 352, he informed. “Korba and Raigarh recorded nine new cases each, followed by six in Raipur. No fresh cases were reported in 17 districts. With 25,999 samples being examined during the day, the number of tests in the state went up to 1,44,75,401,” he added. Chhattisgarh’s coronavirus figures are as follows: Positive cases 10,07,115, New cases 40, Death toll 13,594, Recovered 9,93,169, Active cases 352, today tests 25,999, Total tests 1,44,75,401. (PTI)

    21:31 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Indians support vaccine, mask mandate for workplace, says WEF survey

    Nearly 90 per cent people in India believe they and their colleagues at workplaces should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 93 per cent agree they should wear mask when in public places or in proximity with others, a global WEF survey showed on Thursday. The percentage of Indian respondents agreeing to such measures is much higher than the global average of 78 per cent wanting everyone in their workplace to be fully vaccinated and 81 per cent expecting everyone to wear a mask in common areas. Also, a majority of workers in most countries (averaging 62 per cent globally) would not feel comfortable going to work if such measures were not in place, according to the survey conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Ipsos.  The survey covered nearly 14,500 employed adults across 33 countries between October 22 and November 5, 2021 — a few weeks before the emergence of the Omicron variant. Moreover, 81 per cent of Indians surveyed said they would opt for frequent COVID testing in case not vaccinated against the disease. Globally, only 12 per cent of workers would choose frequent testing instead. The survey also highlights wide differences in COVID and workplace-related behaviour and attitudes globally.  (PTI)

    21:30 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Austrians who flout vaccine mandate face fines up to $4,000

    Austria plans to impose fines of up to 3,600 euros (around USD 4,000) on people who flout a coronavirus vaccine mandate it aims to introduce in February for all residents age 14 and over, the health minister said Thursday. The government announced last month that it would implement a general vaccine mandate early next year, becoming the first European country to do so. It has drawn up details of the draft legislation in recent weeks, with backing from two of the three opposition parties in parliament. Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said that there will be exemptions for pregnant women — though he stressed that vaccinations are recommended for them too — for people who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons, and for people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the previous six months. The legislation is due to take effect on February 1. Mueckstein said that people who are eligible for exemptions will have to have those registered in a central vaccination register, which will be checked at regular three-month intervals. The first cutoff date will be March 15. (AP)

    21:28 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: UK’s Omicron COVID variant cases nearly double in a day

    The number of cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Britain has nearly doubled in one day after a further 249 cases were confirmed on Thursday, bringing the UK total to 817. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said if the growth rate and doubling time continue at the rate seen in the last two weeks, they expect to see at least 50 per cent of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases to be caused by Omicron variant in the next two to four weeks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier said that the variant’s doubling rate could be between two to three days as he announced tougher measures of expanded compulsory face masks in indoor settings, work from home guidance and COVID vaccine certification for entry into venues. (PTI)

    21:28 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Mumbai reports 218 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death; active tally at 1,765

    Mumbai reported 218 new coronavirus cases and just one fatality on Thursday, while 103 patients recovered from the infection in the city, a civic official said. With fresh additions, the tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 7,64,662, while the  death toll increased to 16,354 in the financial capital, he said. For the second day in a row, Mumbai has logged over 200 new COVID-19 cases. A day before, the city had logged 250 COVID-19 cases and a single fatality. According to the official, the city now has 1,765 active COVID-19 cases after 103 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of recovered patients rose to 7,43,966 in Mumbai, where the COVID-19 recovery rate is 97 per cent. Mumbai’s growth rate of COVID-19 infections stood at 0.02 between December 2 and December 8, while the city’s case doubling rate was 2,613. (PTI)

    21:09 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Goa sees 31 COVID-19 cases, 94 earlier deaths added to toll

    The number of COVID-19 cases in Goa reached 1,79,338 on Thursday after 31 people were detected with the infection, an official said. Though no deaths were reported during the day, the toll reached 3,482 after 94 earlier fatalities, which took place between August, 2020 and June this year, were added to the count, he said. So far, 1,75,408 people have been discharged post recovery, including 24 on Thursday, leaving the coastal state with an active tally of 448, he informed. With 3,038 samples being examined in the last 24 hours, the number of tests in Goa went up to 15,70,187, he added. (PTI)

    21:08 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Maharashtra logs 789 fresh infections, 7 deaths; no new Omicron case reported

    Maharashtra recorded 789 new COVID-19 cases and seven fatalities, but no new patient of the recently discovered  Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was found in the state in the last 24 hours, the health department said on Thursday. With the fresh COVID-19 cases, the state’s overall infection tally reached 66,41,677, while the toll rose to 1,41,211, it said. On Wednesday, Maharashtra had reported 893 new coronavirus cases and 10 deaths. A bulletin issued by the health department said 585 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the number of recovered cases to 64,90,305. There are now 6,482 active COVID-19 cases in the state. The COVID-19 recovery rate in the state stands at  97.72 per cent, while the fatality rate is 2.12 per cent. (PTI)

    20:55 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Sikkim reports six new COVID-19 cases, tally at 32,396

    Sikkim’s COVID-19 caseload rose to 32,396 on Thursday, with reports of six new infections in the past 24 hours, a health department bulletin said. The state’s coronavirus death toll stood at 405, with no fatalities reported in the past 24 hours, it said. All the new infections were reported from East Sikkim district, the bulletin said. Sikkim now has 202 active cases, while 31,448 people have recovered from COVID-19. Altogether 341 coronavirus patients have migrated to other states. (PTI)

    20:35 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Madhya Pradesh logs 19 new coronavirus cases, zero death; active tally at 150

    The COVID-19 tally in Madhya Pradesh rose to 7,93,307 on Thursday with an addition of 19 fresh cases, while no new death due to the infection was reported in the state, a health department official said. The recovery count increased to 7,82,628 after 9 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, he said. The state is now left with 150 active coronavirus cases. The death toll remained unchanged at 10,529 as no new fatality linked to COVID-19 was recorded in the last 24 hours,  the official said. With 56,786 swab samples examined during the day, the number of tests in MP went up to 2,23,81,810 the official added. An official release said 9,28,74,055 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to people so far in the state, including 4,61,889 on Thursday. (PTI)

    20:27 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: India’s vaccination coverage crosses 131 crore doses

    The cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 131 crore on Thursday, the Union Health Ministry said. On Thursday, more than 67 lakh (67,11,113) doses were administered till 7 pm, the ministry said, adding the daily vaccination tally is expected to increase further with the compilation of the final reports for the day by late night. The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2. The next phase of vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. (PTI)

    20:26 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Telangana sees 201 new COVID-19 cases, one death

    Telangana on Thursday registered 201 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the cumulative to 6,77,747, while the toll rose to 4,003 with one more fatality. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 76, followed by Ranga Reddy 24 and Hanumakonda 15 districts, a state government bulletin said, providing details as of 5.30 PM on Thursday. It said 184 people recovered from the infectious disease today. The cumulative number of recoveries till date was 6,69,857. The number of active cases was 3,887, the bulletin said. It said 36,900 samples were tested in the last 24 hours and the total number of samples tested till date was 2.89 crore. (PTI)

    19:59 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Nashik records 32 new COVID-19 cases; two fatalities

    Maharashtra’s Nashik on Thursday recorded 32 fresh cases of COVID-19 that took the tally of infections in the district to 4,12,770, an official said. As many as 53 patients were discharged from hospitals, while two died of the infection during the day, raising the count of recoveries to 4,03,691 and toll to 8,733, he said. Of the total number of cases reported so far, 2,32,285 were from Nashik city, 1,57,860 from other parts of the district, 12,694 from Malegaon and 6,015 patients were from outside the district, it was stated. (PTI)

    19:49 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: SEC to hold meeting tomorrow on Covid-19 booster doses

    Subject Expert Committee (SEC) to hold a meeting tomorrow on booster doses. Recently Serum Institute of India has sought approval from DCGI for Covishield as a booster dose citing its adequate stock in the country & demand for booster shot due to the emergence of the new variant. (ANI)

    19:43 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Slovakia offers cash to over-60s to get COVID shots

    Slovakia is to give cash handouts to people over 60 who get vaccinated against the coronavirus or have their booster shot, aiming to spur inoculation rates lagging others in the European Union. Parliament approved the payments on Thursday, giving the go-ahead to a proposal by the government which had at first considered handing out vouchers for hotels or restaurants but opted instead on payouts. Those receiving booster shots by mid-January will get 300 euros ($340), while over-60s who sign up for the vaccine by that time are entitled to 200 euros. Slovakia is not the first country to offer incentives to get vaccinated. Switzerland in October offered citizens who persuaded their friends to get COVID-19 shots free restaurant meals or cinema outings. (Reuters)

    19:40 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Two Covid deaths, 52 fresh cases in Himachal Pradesh

    Himachal Pradesh recorded 52 fresh COVID-19 cases and two fatalities due to the disease on Thursday, taking the state’s infection tally to 2,27,805 and its death toll to 3,842, officials said. The fresh deaths were reported from Shimla and Hamirpur districts. The number of active COVID-19 cases in the state now stands at 672, a health official said. Besides, 100 more patients have recovered from the infection, taking the recovery count to 2,23,274, he added. (PTI)

    19:35 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Gujarat records 70 new cases, zero deaths

    Gujarat reports 70 new cases, 28 recoveries and zero deaths in the last 24 hours.

    Total cases 8,27,943
    Total recoveries 8,17,389
    Death toll 10,095

    Active 454 (ANI)

    19:23 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Gujarat reports 70 new Covid-19 cases, zero deaths

    Gujarat reports 70 new cases, 28 recoveries and zero deaths in the last 24 hours.

    Total cases 8,27,943
    Total recoveries 8,17,389
    Death toll 10,095

    Active 454  (ANI)

    19:13 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Karnataka reports 373 new cases, 4 deaths

    COVID19 | Karnataka reports 373 new cases, 4 deaths and 292 discharges today; Active cases stand at 7,332
     

    19:06 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Dr Reddy’s Laboratories seeks DCGI’s nod for phase-3 trial of Sputnik Light as booster dose

    Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has sought permission from India’s drug regulator to conduct a phase-3 clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Sputnik Light vaccine as a booster dose against COVID-19 in India, sources said on Thursday. Stating the Sputnik Light is the Component 1 of the Gam-COVID-Vac Combined Vector Vaccine (Sputnik V), P Madhavi, the Director-Regulatory Affairs at Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, proposed to use batches of the vaccine manufactured at Hetero Biopharma Limited, Telangana, and at its loan license facility at Shilpa Biologicals Private Limited in Karnataka for the phase-3 trial. Sputnik Light has not yet received emergency use authorisation from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). “Seeking your permission to conduct ‘a phase-3 randomized, open-label three-arm, multi-centre, clinical study in parallel assignment to evaluate immunogenicity and safety of a booster dose of Sputnik Light vector vaccine against COVID-19 in healthy Indian subjects,” a source quoted Madhavi as having said in the application. Recently, Serum Institute of India sought from DCGI approval for Covishield as a booster dose citing adequate stock of the vaccine in the country and a demand for a booster shot due to the emergence of new coronavirus variants. (PTI)

    19:05 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: AstraZeneca in touch with Indian authorities for approval to COVID drug

    Biopharmaceutical multinational AstraZeneca on Thursday said it has initiated engagements with Indian health authorities to provide the latest evidence of Evusheld, its COVID-19 prevention drug for people with weakened immune system which has received emergency use authorisation (EUA) in the US. The long acting antibody combination has been granted the EUA in the US for COVID-19 prevention in adults and adolescents (above 12 years and weighing 40kg or more) with moderate to severely weakened immune system who may not have an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, as well as those individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is not recommended, the company said. “We welcome this news and the opportunity it provides to support the unmet needs of high risk and immune-compromised patients and we have already initiated engagements with the relevant health authorities in India to provide them with the latest evidence,” AstraZeneca India Pharma Ltd Managing Director Gagandeep Singh Bedi said in a statement. (PTI)

    18:59 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: No new COVID-19 case in Nagaland

    Nagaland did not report any new COVID-19 case on Thursday, a health department official said. The COVID-19 tally in the northeastern state remained at 32,143, he said. The state’s coronavirus death toll remained unchanged at 699 as no fresh fatality was registered, the official said. Nagaland now has 110 active COVID-19 cases, while 30,268 people have recovered from the disease so far, including six in the last 24 hours, and 1,066 patients have migrated to other states till date. State Immunisation Officer Dr Ritu Thurr said that till Wednesday a total of 13,07,449 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to 7,48,416 people. (PTI) 

    18:56 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: WHO warns fears of omicron could spark new vaccine hoarding

    The World Health Organization expressed concerns Thursday that rich countries spooked by the emergence of the omicron variant could step up the hoarding of COVID-19 vaccines and strain global supplies again, complicating efforts to stamp out the pandemic. The UN health agency, after a meeting of its expert panel on vaccination, reiterated its advice to governments against the widespread use of boosters in their populations so that well-stocked countries instead can send doses to low-income countries that have largely lacked access to them. “What is going to shut down disease is for everybody who is especially at risk of disease to become vaccinated,” said Dr. Kate O’Brien, head of WHO’s department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals. “We seem to be taking our eye off that ball in countries.” Months of short supplies of COVID-19 vaccines have begun to ease over the last two months or so, and doses are finally getting to needier countries — such as through donations and the UN-backed COVAX programme” and WHO wants that to continue.  It has long decried “vaccine inequity” by which most doses have gone to people in rich countries, whose leaders locked down big stockpiles as a precautionary measure. (AP) 

    18:41 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Suspension of scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India extended till January 31
    18:37 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Only 2 of 211 samples show Omicron presence during genome sequencing in Mumbai

    The Mumbai civic body on Thursday said the genome sequencing of 211 COVID-19 samples showed that two of them had the newer Omicron variant, while some 89 per cent had the Delta derivative and 11 per cent the Delta variant. This was the fifth batch of samples sent for genome sequencing, and none of the patients from whom the samples were collected was deceased, a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation release said. The overall results of the test make it clear the COVID-19 outbreak in Mumbai is completely under control as a result of vaccination, but, in the light of warnings by experts on the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, people must ensure they adhere to pandemic protocols like wearing masks, following hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing, the release said. “In the fifth batch, 227 samples were sent for genome sequencing, of which 221 were from Mumbai. Of the 221 patients, 19 (9 per cent) were of up to 20 years of age, 69 (31 per cent) were between 21 and 40 years, 73 (33 per cent) in the 41-60 age group, 54 (25 per cent) between 61 and 80 years, and six (three per cent) in the above-80 segment,” an official said. “Of the 221 patients, 24 tested positive for Delta variant, 195 had the Delta derivative, and Omicron was detected in two samples. These two patients with Omicron have already been included in the count for the new variant, so there is no increase in this segment in the city,” he added. (PTI)

    18:23 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Active Covid-19 cases rise marginally in Andhra

    Active Covid-19 cases increased marginally to 2,037 in Andhra Pradesh as fresh positives outnumbered recoveries on Thursday. The state reported 193 fresh infections, 164 recoveries and three deaths in 24 hours ending 9 am on Thursday, the latest bulletin said. The state Covid-19 chart now showed a total of 20,74,410 positives, 20,57,913 recoveries and 14,460 deaths so far. While Krishna district continued report a coronavirus death, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram reported one fresh fatality each on Thursday after a gap of over two months. (PTI)

    18:19 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Kerala reports 4,169 new cases, 52 deaths

    COVID19 | Kerala reports 4,169 new cases, 52 deaths and 4,357 recoveries today; Active caseload stands at 40,546 (ANI)

    18:17 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Serum Institute let Africa down on vaccines, says Africa CDC

    The Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, let Africa down by pulling out of talks to supply COVID-19 vaccines, creating distrust that has affected demand, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control said on Thursday. John Nkengasong denounced recent comments from Serum that uptake of its COVID-19 shots had slowed because of low demand from Africa and vaccine hesitancy, saying the real problem was that Serum had acted unprofessionally. Serum did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Nkengasong said Serum had engaged in discussions last year with the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), and that at one point he had believed a deal was very close, but then Serum abruptly ended the talks. “Serum just decided to act in a very unprofessional manner and stop communicating with AVATT team, so that created a situation where we found ourselves extremely unhappy … and then engaged with Johnson & Johnson,” he said. (Reuters)

    18:14 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: WHO’s Tedros says Omicron coronavirus variant highlights “perilous situation”

    The emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant highlights the “perilous situation” the world is in roughly two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday. He added that he was disappointed that countries had imposed blanket travel bans on southern Africa over Omicron and that transparency would help end the pandemic. (Reuters)

    18:12 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Minimum age in Austria’s planned COVID-19 vaccine mandate is 14 -minister

    Austria’s planned coronavirus vaccine mandate has a minimum age of 14, Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told a news conference on Thursday. The mandate, which is due to come into force in February, also includes fines of 3,600 euros ($4,072), Mueckstein said, outlining details of the plan that must still be approved by parliament but which the government says has the backing of two opposition parties, suggesting it should pass easily. (Reuters)

    17:56 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: 13 passengers who arrived from overseas test Covid positive, says TN health minister

    Thirteen passengers who arrived from ‘at risk’ and ‘non-risk’ countries to Tamil Nadu  till date have tested Covid-19 positive and their RTPCR Samples have been sent to Bengaluru for genomic sequencing analysis, Tamil Nadu Minister Ma Subramanian said on Thursday. The minister for health and family welfare said 9,012 people have so far arrived from ‘at risk’ countries of which 11 have tested Covid-19 positive while 33,112 people arrived from ‘non-risk’ countries, of which two  have tested positive. “Of the 13, one has been asymptomatic and is under home isolation. Seven people are under treatment in King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research, two in Annal Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Tiruchirappalli and one in Government Medical College Hospital, Nagercoil  and two in private health care facilities”, he told reporters. He said all were ‘doing well’ and their samples have been sent to The Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bengaluru for genomic sequencing analysis. Earlier in the day, he inspected the ACTech block located in the Anna University campus here after a student tested Covid-19 positive on Wednesday. (PTI)

    17:54 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: African governments might turn to COVID-19 vaccine mandates

    African governments might have to resort to COVID-19 vaccine mandates if their citizens don’t hurry to get the increasingly available doses, the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The warning by John Nkengasong to reporters that governments “will not have a choice” came as the flow of doses to Africa’s 54 countries grows but vaccine hesitancy — and the short shelf life of some donations — create new pressures to get them into the arms of the continent’s 1.3 billion people. “We don’t need to get there if we just do the right thing,” Nkengasong said of vaccine mandates. He called any lack of interest in vaccine uptake “extremely unfortunate” after African officials have fought for months against dramatic vaccine inequality between their nations and richer ones around the world. Africa remains the world’s least vaccinated continent against COVID-19, with less than 8% of the continent’s population fully jabbed. Now the rapidly spreading omicron variant, first identified in southern Africa and now reported in 11 African countries, is driving a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases on the continent.  New cases in the past week surged by 93%, the World Health Organization said, though “there are signs of hope as preliminary data indicates that hospitalizations across South Africa remain low” and the new variant might cause less severe illness. Only six African countries have met the global target of vaccinating 40% of their populations against COVID-19 by the end of this year, and “this is simply dangerous and untenable,” a WHO immunization official, Richard Mihigo, told reporters on Thursday. (AP)

    17:39 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Denmark orders eateries to close early, bans large concerts as Covid cases surge

    Denmark’s government has decided that students up to the 10th grade must study remotely for the last few days before Christmas break and ordered nightclubs, bars and restaurants to close at midnight as part of efforts to counter an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also banned concerts where audiences have more than 50 people standing and required restaurant patrons to wear face masks when they are not seated. He further recommended Wednesday that people work from home. The measures apply as of Friday and are set to last for four weeks. The virtual teaching starts Wednesday, Dec. 15. In Denmark, schools go on Christmas break as Dec. 20. Speaking of the omicron variant, Frederiksen said that it is “expected that this will mean more infected, more sick and thus potentially more hospitalized patients.” “Thus, the new variant also entails a significant risk of critically overloading the health service, and that is why we now have to do more,” Frederiksen said. Norway on Tuesday introduced a 10-person limit for gatherings at private homes, although the number will be increased to 20 on Christmas and New Year’s eves.  It also is capping attendance at public events without assigned seating at 50. In addition, the government says it’s advising people to work from home when possible and reintroducing a social distancing requirement for restaurants. (AP)

    17:34 (IST)09 Dec 2021
    Coronavirus Covid19 Live Tracker: Natural infection and vaccination provide maximum protection against Covid variants: Study

    A combination of vaccination and naturally acquired infection appears to provide maximum protection against the variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study. The findings, published in the journal mBio, raise the possibility that vaccine boosters may be equally effective in improving antibodies’ ability to target multiple variants of the virus. “The main message from our research is that someone who has had Covid and then gets vaccinated develops not only a boost in antibody amount, but also improved antibody quality — enhancing the ability of antibodies to act against variants,” said Otto Yang, a professor at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US. “This suggests that having repeated exposures to the spike protein allows the immune system to continue improving the antibodies if someone had Covid then been vaccinated,” said Yang, the study’s senior author. The spike protein is the part of the virus that helps it to enter and infect the cells. It is not yet known whether the same benefits would be realised for people who have repeated vaccinations but who have not contracted COVID-19, the researchers said. (PTI)

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