Coronavirus Omicron Highlights: CSA hints India vs South Africa games could be played behind closed doors due to Covid threat

The Health Ministry informed on Monday that India recorded 6,563 new cases of Coronavirus and 132 deaths in last 24 hours.

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India's active caseload stands at 82,267 which has been the lowest in 572 days, as per the data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Coronavirus Vaccine Registration, Coronavirus Omicron Variant Cases in India Highlights: India reported 6,563 new cases of Covid-19, 132 deaths and 8,077 recoveries in the last 24 hours on Monday morning. The country’s active caseload stands at 82,267 which has been the lowest in 572 days, as per the data shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Karnataka’s health minister Dr. Sudhakar K had confirmed five new cases of Omicron variant in the state. “Five new cases of the Omicron variant of COVID19 have been confirmed on December 19 in the State. The five patients are from Dharwad, Bhadravathi, Udupi and Mangaluru,” the minister was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Karnataka is facing a tough situation as it also recorded 300 fresh coronavirus cases on Sunday. The state’s aggregate Covid-19 cases touched 30,02,427 on the same day.

India’s tally of Omicron cases crossed the 150 mark on Sunday after Maharashtra reported six more cases of the new variant. The state’s Omicron tally has now reached to 54. According to news agency PTI, two of these patients had a history of travel to Tanzania, two others had returned from England and one from the Middle East. All five of these persons are fully vaccinated. Another patient is a five-year-old boy from Junnar in Pune who is a close contact of Dubai travellers from Junnar, PTI reported. Maharashtra also recorded 902 new cases of coronavirus and nine deaths on Sunday which makes it clear that the situation is grim in the state. New agency PTI quoted a state health department release saying that Mumbai city reported 321 new cases and two deaths, taking the metropolis’ tally to 7,67,050 and toll to 16,365.

Even the national capital recorded the highest daily rise in Covid cases on Sunday since June 27. According to the data shared by the city health department, Delhi recorded 107 new coronavirus infections on Sunday. On the other hand, Andaman and Nicobar Islands announced their acheivement of 100 percent double dose Covid vaccination. The administration said it was the first among the states and Union territories to achieve the feat using only Covishield.

Internationally speaking, White House’s top medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci on Sunday said that the Omicron variant is “just raging around the world,” and that US President Joe Biden is planning to give “a stark warning of what the winter will look like” for unvaccinated Americans, news agency PTI reported. The situation in UK seems to be getting worse with more than 10,000 new Omicron cases reported on Sunday. The number of overall Covid-19 infections in the UK stood well above 90,000 cases. Keeping the rapid spread of Omicron variant in the UK, Germany tightened its travel restrictions on people coming from Britain.

Financial Express Online brings you the latest updates on the Coronavirus pandemic. Stay tuned.

Live Updates
10:32 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Tamil Nadu reports 605 new COVID-19 cases, 697 recoveries and 6 deaths in the last 24 hours

Tamil Nadu reports 605 new COVID-19 cases, 697 recoveries and 6 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Total cases 27,40,411

Total recoveries 26,96,553

Death toll 36,686

Active cases 7,172 (ANI)

10:20 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: India prepared to fight Omicron variant, says health minister Mansukh Mandaviya

India is prepared to fight Omicron variant of coronavirus and country's vaccine manufacturing capacity will be increased to 45 crore doses per month in next two months: Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya (PTI)

9:54 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Bengaluru civic agency makes COVID-19 test mandatory in pvt hospitals for SARI & ILI patients

The Bengaluru civic agency has made COVID-19 tests mandatory in private hospitals for all those coming with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) and Influenza Like Illness (ILI) in Bengaluru.

“All the SARI, ILI patients coming to OPD in private hospitals in BBMP limits should be tested for COVID-19 compulsorily and other patients also could be advised to undergo the same if needed,” the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike quoted Special Commissioner Dr Trilok Chandra as saying in a statement.

Addressing a meeting with Private Hospitals and Nursing Home Association (PHANA) and more than 100 Private Hospitals, he said precautionary measures should be taken to prevent spreading of COVID-19 in the city.

The officer asked the hospitals to make sure that everyone visiting the hospital have been inoculated. If someone has taken only the first dose of the vaccine, the hospitals should make them take the second dose.

Dr Chandra assured the representatives of PHANA that the COVID-19 cases in the city were stable. Yet, as a precautionary measure the private hospitals should be ready to reserve beds for COVID patients including separate pediatric beds.

He also insisted that the information about real time bed availability should be uploaded in PHANA portal. All the necessary measures should be taken to ensure proper availability of oxygen, he told the representatives of PHANA. (PTI)

9:41 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Gujarat sees 70 new COVID-19 cases, 63 recoveries

Gujarat on Monday reported 70 new coronavirus positive cases, taking the tally of infections to 8,28,616, the state health department said.

The COVID-19 death toll rose to 10,102 after a patient succumbed to the viral disease, it said.

A total of 63 patients were discharged during the day, which raised the total number of recoveries in Gujarat to 8,17,937, the department said in a release.

The number of active cases in Gujarat now stands at 577. The condition of eight patients is critical, it said.

A total of 2.21 lakh people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Gujarat on Monday, raising the total number of administered doses to 8.72 crore so far.

Ahmedabad reported 13 fresh COVID-19 cases, Vadodara 12, Jamnagar 10, Rajkot nine, and Surat eight, the department said.

Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu saw one COVID-19 case and two recoveries. The UT has so far reported 10,663 cases, 10,654 recoveries, five active cases and four deaths, officials said.

Gujarat's COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 8,28, 616, new cases 70, death toll 10,102, discharged 8,17,937, active cases 577, people tested so far – figures not released. (PTI)

9:19 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Cricket South Africa says India vs South Africa games to be played behind closed doors

CSA wishes to inform all sports lovers that owing to increasing COVID cases around the world & fourth wave locally, the 2 cricketing bodies have taken a joint decision to protect players & the tour by not making tickets available for India vs Proteas offerings. This decision was taken in order to avoid any breaches that could compromise the tour from a Covid-risk perspective and to also maintain a hazard-free bubble environment: Cricket South Africa (ANI)

9:08 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Many studies have proved that immunity wheels off 6 months after the last COVID-19 vaccination, says Dr. Dhiren Gupta

Many studies have proved that immunity wheels off 6 months after the last COVID-19 vaccination. We need to give boosters especially to those people who didn't get symptomatic delta infection. Children, the weak-links, should be vaccinated soon: Dr. Dhiren Gupta, Sr Consultant-SGRH (ANI)

8:47 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: In South Africa it’s mostly mild cases, says South African Medical Assn Chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee

I've seen 100 patients myself. It's quite transmissible; if I look at Delta, it seems less but it's very transmissible. In South Africa we don't see severe cases, it's mostly mild cases: South African Medical Assn Chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee, first to detect Omicron, to ANI (ANI)

8:41 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Maharashtra reports 544 new COVID-19 cases, 515 recoveries and 4 deaths in the last 24 hours

Maharashtra reports 544 new COVID-19 cases, 515 recoveries and 4 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Active cases 7093

No new Omicron case is reported from the state today. Till date, a total of 54 patients infected with the #omicron variant have been reported in the state. (ANI)

8:21 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: World Economic Forum called off due to surge in Omicron cases

World Economic Forum (WEF) will defer its Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in the light of continued uncertainty over Omicron outbreak. The Meeting was scheduled to take place in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland between 17-21 Jan, 2022. It's now planned for early summer: WEF (ANI)

8:13 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Gujarat Govt extends night curfew in 8 major cities till December 31

Gujarat Govt extended night curfew (1 am to 5 am) in 8 major cities till December 31, it says (ANI)

7:55 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Moderna says initial booster data shows good results on omicron

Moderna said Monday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine should offer protection against the rapidly spreading omicron variant. Moderna said lab tests showed the half-dose booster shot increased by 37 times the level of so-called neutralizing antibodies able to fight omicron.

And a full-dose booster was even stronger, triggering an 83-fold jump in antibody levels, although with an increase in the usual side effects, the company said. While half-dose shots are being used for most Moderna boosters, a full-dose third shot has been recommended for people with weakened immune systems. Moderna announced the preliminary laboratory data in a press release and it hasn’t yet undergone scientific review. | Read More

7:36 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: AP logs 75 fresh COVID-19 cases, 1 death; Door to door fever survey begins

Andhra Pradesh on Monday logged 75 fresh COVID-19 cases, the lowest during the past ten months, taking the cumulative infections to 20,75,879, while the toll rose to 14,480 with one more fatality.

Active cases stood at 1,517, a health department bulletin said providing details of the last 24 hours ending 9 AM today.

As many as 154 people recovered from the disease leaving the total number of recoveries at 20,59,882, the bulletin said.

The lone death was reported in Guntur district.

Over 21,000 samples were tested during the last 24 hours. The total number of samples tested so far is over 3.10 crore.

Chittoor District topped the chart with highest number of active cases with 278 followed by East Godavari (275).

Director Public Health G.Hymavathi told PTI that door to door fever survey began today to ascertain if anyone is suffering with any symptoms and take further action if required.

“About 40,000 Asha Workers with the help of over two lakh volunteers will participate in the survey. If anyone is having any symptoms necessary action will be taken,” the official said. (PTI)

7:17 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: European Union’s regulator gives green light to Novavax, the 5th COVID-19 vaccine for use in the bloc

The European Union's regulator gives green light to Novavax, the 5th COVID-19 vaccine for use in the 27-nation bloc. (AP)

6:39 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Kerala’s reports 2,230 fresh COVID-19 cases, 419 deaths

Kerala on Monday saw less than 3,000 fresh COVID-19 cases for the second day running with the state reporting 2,230 new infections which took the caseload to 52,07,990. The state also reported 419 deaths which raised the toll to 44,922, a state government release said. | Read More

5:58 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Bharat Biotech has submitted phase 3 clinical trial application to DCGI for its booster dose of their intranasal Covid vaccine

Bharat Biotech has submitted phase 3 clinical trial application to DCGI for its booster dose of their intranasal Covid vaccine that can be given to Covaxin and Covishield vaccinated people: Source (ANI)

5:48 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Delhi reports 91 new COVID-19 cases, 100 recoveries and zero deaths in last 24 hours

Delhi reports 91 new COVID-19 cases, 100 recoveries and zero deaths in the last 24 hours.

Total cases 14,42,288

Total recoveries 14,16,656

Death toll 25,101

Active cases 531 (ANI)

4:40 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Tougher curbs likely as Omicron hits another daily high of 12,133 in UK

The UK Cabinet is on Monday holding talks to consider options for tougher lockdown restrictions as the country recorded another daily high of Omicron cases at 12,133. The total number of confirmed Omicron cases in the UK stands at 37,101, taking the overall COVID-19 infections tally to 82,886 on Sunday. A further 45 COVID-related deaths have been reported in people who died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. “I just can't make hard, fast guarantees,” said UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab when asked if tougher lockdown measures are expected. “I think we will have a much better Christmas than last year because of the vaccination level – both the overall vaccination level and particularly the impact of the booster campaign. People will need to be careful and cautious,” he said. According to UK media reports, civil servants have produced three options for ministers to consider as future COVID measures, and they range in severity from stricter guidance on households mixing to early closures of shops and restaurants to limit gatherings. Ministers are yet to decide between the options, with reports that UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is among those resisting strict lockdown measures at a time when businesses are already struggling to cope with cancellations and staff absences at what is usually a lucrative Christmas period. The government's scientific advisers, however, want more restrictions and have suggested reducing the size of groups that can meet and closing venues where there is a high risk of transmission. There are also fears over staff absences caused by the Omicron surge, with some National Health Service (NHS) trusts already having to postpone non-essential work. It comes as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains under pressure of his own, with new images published by ‘The Guardian' of what looks like a wine and cheese party in the garden of 10 Downing Street in May 2020 when strict rules were in place on different households mixing. (PTI)

4:34 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Covid-19 infections increase in coastal holiday areas of South Africa

COVID-19 infections in South Africa's coastal provinces have started showing an increase as tens of thousands of people from inner parts of the country swarmed the areas over the weekend for their annual holidays, with analysts warning that the number of cases could rise if coronavirus protocols are not followed. The most popular coastal province, KwaZulu-Natal, which includes the city of Durban, accounted for 27 per cent of the 15,465 new COVID-19 cases identified in the last 24 hours by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). This brings the total number of confirmed cases in South Africa to 3,308,074. The economic hub of Gauteng province, which has been responsible daily for up to 70 per cent of infections since the Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa last month, has moved to the second highest with 23 per cent, while the other popular costal province, Western Cape, is third with 18 per cent. (PTI)

4:29 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Odisha reports 186 new COVID-19 cases, one more death

Odisha on Monday reported 186 new COVID-19 cases, seven less than the previous day, with the tally rising to 10,53,020, a health department bulletin said. The death toll rose to 8,445 as a 72-year-old man in Khurda district succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, it said. Fifty-three other COVID patients have died due to comorbidities so far, the bulletin said. Khurda district registered the highest number of new infections at 94, followed by Cuttack at 18. Thirty-nine children are among the newly infected patients, it said. The state now has 1,821 active cases. At least 258 patients recuperated from the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recoveries to 10,42,701. The state conducted 54,226 sample tests for COVID-19 on Sunday, and the daily positivity rate was at 0.34 per cent. Over 2.86 crore people have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, and nearly 1.87 crore beneficiaries got the second jab in the state. (PTI)

4:16 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Centre arranges “buffer stock of important medicines”
As of now, India has 161 #omicron cases…We're monitoring the situation daily with experts. With our experience during the 1st & 2nd waves, to ensure that we don't face problems when variant spreads, we've arranged a buffer stock of important medicines: Union Health Min in RS pic.twitter.com/VV5y3AxTSj
— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2021
4:13 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Israel adds US, Canada to its travel ban list over spread of Omicron variant

Israel on Monday imposed travel ban to ten countries, including the US, Canada and Germany by adding them to its “no-fly” list, citing concerns over the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant that has infected 175 people in the country. Acting on health ministry recommendations, Israeli cabinet ministers voted on Monday to put the United States, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland and Turkey on the no-fly list. “The cabinet ministers have now approved (in a telephone vote) the expansion of the list of red countries, in accordance with the recommendation of the Health Ministry State Classification Committee, pursuant to a discussion that was held on Sunday at the Cabinet meeting”, a statement from the PMO said. “Italy, the USA, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Morocco, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland and Turkey will be defined as red countries starting tomorrow (Tuesday, December 21, 2021) at midnight (the night between Tuesday and Wednesday), subject to approval by the Knesset Constitution, Justice and Law Committee”, it said. Travel to and from the so-called “red countries” is expressly forbidden, unless permission is granted by a special committee. Those who return from these countries must remain in quarantine for seven days. As per local media reports, 17 people on a flight from Miami on Sunday tested positive for COVID-19, with most of them suspected of carrying the Omicron variant. The Israeli Health Ministry, meanwhile, announced that it has discovered 40 new Omicron cases, taking the total number of cases of the new COVID-19 variant to 175 in the country. (PTI)

3:54 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: COVID-19 pandemic not yet over; disaster management now a reality & major challenge, says General Naravane

Noting that the coronavirus pandemic is not yet over, Army chief General M M Naravane on Monday said the outbreak of COVID-19 has taught everyone many lessons and disaster management in the backdrop of the pandemic is a reality and a major challenge. He also highlighted the importance of global and regional cooperation while tackling any pandemic-like situation. He was speaking at the inauguration of PANEX-21, a trans-national, multi-agency exercise organised in Pune from December 20 to 22 with a focused aim to “foster jointness and develop capabilities in disaster management aspects for the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) nations”. The Army chief said the fact is that the pandemic is not over as new variants have added realism to the conduct of this exercise. The South Asian region is prone to a large range of natural hazards, including floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides, and tsunami, he noted. “Rapidly growing unplanned urbanisation, ecological degradation, and corresponding climate change effects and dynamically varying socio-economic conditions have increased our exposure to various natural hazards,” he said. All have witnessed the rising frequency of disasters with more intense and catastrophic events, he pointed out. “Our response strategies have also evolved, added by rapid improvements in technology have become more robust and resilient. Trans-national cooperation between BIMSTEC nations continues to be driven by common and shared challenges,” he said. The pandemic has overwhelmed the national capacity, disrupted the supply chain, and brought everyone back to the drawing board, he said. “Disaster management in the backdrop of the pandemic, is a reality and a major challenge and this also forms a basic theme of PANEX-21,” he said. The earlier exercise was conducted in February 2020, in the early days of the pandemic, General Naravane said. “A lot has changed since then. The devastating effects of the pandemic have been witnessed and acknowledged by the world. We have realised that our standard operating procedures which worked well in the past are no longer active and we would need transformative changes,” he said. It was realised that resource preservation in the times of pandemic is as challenging as an application for disaster management, the Army chief said. He said it has become incumbent for the response teams to first protect themselves before being able to assess others. “We have also come to accept that no single agency has the capability or capacity to handle the challenge on their own. Not only that, such has been the strain on the resources that even well-developed countries with modern infrastructure have looked beyond for aid and assistance,” he said. (PTI)

3:32 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Germany considers contact restrictions to soften looming COVID-19 wave

Tougher contact restrictions and an accelerated booster campaign are among measures being considered by German leaders ahead of a meeting on Tuesday aimed at softening the blow of a fifth wave of coronavirus infections. The government's scientific advisory panel said in a statement on Sunday it was necessary to further limit contact, with data so far showing that boosters alone would not be enough to contain the spread of the virus. The state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia state, Hendrik Wuest, did not rule out contact restrictions on people who have been fully vaccinated or had a booster shot. (Reuters)

3:14 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Ireland does not expect to impose additional COVID restrictions, says deputy PM

The Irish government does not expect to have to impose stricter COVID-19 restrictions in the coming weeks, deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday, days after the government ordered bars and restaurants to close at 8 p.m. “If we have to, we will do whatever is necessary … but we don't anticipate that will be necessary,” Varadkar told Irish broadcaster RTE. He said he was “hoping and expecting” that expected high infection rates from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus would not translate into hospitalisations to the same extent as previous waves. (Reuters)

2:54 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: UK’s Omicron deaths rise to 12

Twelve people in Britain have died with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said on Monday, refusing to rule out a tightening of social restrictions before Christmas. Britain has reported record levels of COVID-19 cases, with officials and ministers warning that the full effects of the latest wave are still yet to be seen. Omicron, first detected last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong, has raced around the globe and so far been reported in at least 89 countries. It is known to be very transmissible, but the severity of illness it causes remains unclear. In addition to the 12 deaths, Raab said 104 people were currently in hospital with Omicron. Officials warned last week that hospitalisations could hit new highs as the effects of the latest surge work their way through the population. Asked whether the government would impose further restrictions before Christmas, Raab told Times Radio: “I just can't make hard and fast guarantees.” “In assessing the situation we rely very heavily on the real data coming through and it will take a little bit more time to assess this critical issue of the severity of Omicron.” Any decision to limit how people can celebrate Christmas would come at a high political cost for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose authority has been undermined by questions over whether he and his staff broke lockdown rules last year. Johnson also suffered a huge rebellion in parliament last week as lawmakers from his own party pushed back hard against a tightening of COVID-19 rules. To pass the new rules, which included ordering people to wear masks in public places, Johnson had to rely on the support of the main opposition Labour Party. (Reuters)

2:41 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Over 27000 new Covid-19 cases reported in Russia

RUSSIA REPORTS 27,022 NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES IN PAST 24 HOURS (Reuters)

2:32 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Puducherry logs 10 new Covid-19 cases

The union territory of Puducherry logged 10 fresh coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours taking the overall tally to 1,29,325, a senior official of the Department of Health said on Monday. No fresh fatalities were reported from the union territory in the last 24 hours ending 10 AM Monday as the death toll remained at 1,880, Director of the Health Department G Sriramulu said in a release here. The 10 fresh cases were identified at the end of the examination of 831 samples and were spread over Puducherry and Karaikal regions (four each) and Mahe (two cases). Yanam, an enclave of Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh did not report any infection, he said. The number of active cases stood at 129 with 32 patients underdoing treatment in hospitals and the remaining 97 in home isolation. The Health department Director said as many as 32 patients recovered and were discharged during the last 24 hours while the total recoveries climbed to 1,27,316. Sriramulu said the department has so far tested 20,27,046 specimens and has found 17,17,718 out of them to be negative. The test positivity rate stood at 1.20 per cent while the fatality and recovery rates were 1.45 per cent and 98.45 per cent respectively, the Director said. The Health department has so far administered 13,45,193 doses which comprised 8,14,7148 first doses and 5,30,445 were second doses. (PTI)

2:20 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Himachal CM hopes Omicron doesn’t have much of an impact in the state
#omicron is a matter of concern. Himachal Pradesh has done good work as far as COVID vaccination is concerned, in a way we can say that it is a fully vaccinated state. I hope that the variant will not have much of an impact on the state: Himachal Pradesh CM Jairam Thakur pic.twitter.com/5cR0YAyLxy
— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2021
2:10 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: No evidence Omicron has lower severity than Delta variant, says UK study

There is “no evidence” that Omicron has a lower severity than the Delta strain, according to a study in the UK which also found that the new variant of coronavirus largely evades immunity from past infection or two vaccine doses. The study by researchers from Imperial College London in the UK estimates that the risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant is 5.4 times greater than that of the Delta variant. This implies that the protection against reinfection by Omicron afforded by past infection may be as low as 19 per cent, the researchers said. “The study finds no evidence of Omicron having lower severity than Delta, judged by either the proportion of people testing positive who report symptoms, or by the proportion of cases seeking hospital care after infection,” the authors of the study said. “However, hospitalisation data remains very limited at this time,” they added. The yet-to-be-published study used data for all PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases in England who had taken a COVID-19 test between November 29 and December 11, 2021. The research included people identified as having Omicron infection due to an S gene target failure (SGTF), as well as people with genotype data that confirmed Omicron infection. (PTI)

1:55 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Delhi CM to hold meet on Dec 23 to strengthen home isolation program

In order to strengthen the home isolation program, a review meeting will be held on December 23: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal#omicronpic.twitter.com/A86Su3vYaw

— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2021

1:48 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Delhi CM urges Centre to allow booster doses
We also urge the Centre to allow booster doses: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal pic.twitter.com/RKCpKzMjHe
— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2021
1:37 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: All Covid positive cases to be sent for genome sequencing, says Delhi CM

Given the rise in cases for some days, now all positive cases in Delhi will be sent for genome sequencing for Omicron : Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal pic.twitter.com/FnRgqSTwAE

— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2021

1:15 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: S.Korea President urges more beds for Covid-19 patients in serious state

South Korea's hospitals must dedicate more beds and resources for the treatment of coronavirus patients, President Moon Jae-in said on Monday, as serious infections hovered near record highs. As the medical system is strained by a surge in new daily infections and serious cases, authorities restored tougher social distancing rules this week, just 1-1/2 months after having relaxed them in a policy of 'living with COVID-19'. “Over the past year, we have prepared for an increase in patients by nearly doubling the number of coronavirus treatment beds and expanding home treatment, but it was not enough,” Moon's spokesperson, Park Kyung-mee, quoted him as saying. Over the weekend, the occupancy rate of beds in intensive care for COVID-19 patients stood at nearly 88% in Seoul, and more than 79% for the country as a whole, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. That figure is above the threshold of 75% that health authorities had said would trigger emergency measures. In his comments to aides at a meeting, Moon urged public hospitals, particularly in the hard-hit Seoul region, to set aside more resources for serious cases and asked private hospitals and medical workers to expand treatment capability. More doctors and other personnel would be assigned to coronavirus treatment, he added. (Reuters)

1:02 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Israel bans travel to US amid Omicron concerns

ISRAEL BANS TRAVEL TO UNITED STATES OVER COVID-19 OMICRON CONCERNS – OFFICIAL STATEMENT (Reuters)

12:57 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: UK has 104 Omicron hospitalisations, 12 deaths

UK DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER DOMINIC RAAB SAYS WE HAVE 104 HOSPITALISATIONS WITH OMICRON AND 12 DEATHS (Reuters)

12:40 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Kerala detects 4 new Omicron cases
Four new Omicron cases have been confirmed in Kerala today. Case tally now stands at 15: Kerala Health Minister's Office
— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2021
12:26 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Two new Omicron cases detected in Delhi
Two new #omicron cases reported in Delhi, case tally rises to 24, says Delhi Health Department

Out of these 24 patients, 12 have been discharged and 12 are under treatment, adds the Health department.
— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2021
12:18 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: ICMR designs kit for omicron detection

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has designed a diagnostic kit for detection of Omicron variant of the coronavirus and has invited Expression of Interest from in vitro diagnostics (IVD) kit manufacturers for undertaking transfer of technology for its development and commercialisation. The ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre, NE, Dibrugarh, one of the institutes of the ICMR, New Delhi, has developed a novel technology — real-time RT-PCR assay for detection of Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of SARS-CoV2 and a kit for the same. “ICMR is the owner of the said technology, including any underlying intellectual property(ies) and commercialisation rights. ICMR is lawfully entitled to enter into any form of non-exclusive license agreements with selected manufacturer/manufacturers, including transfer of technology through suitable agreement to any other interested manufacturers,” the invitation of Expression of Interest document said. “ICMR, New Delhi, invites Expression of Interest (EOI) through email from experienced IVD kit manufacturers for undertaking transfer of technology for development and commercialisation of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) Real time RT-PCR assay (RT-PCR) through a novel diagnostic kit, developed by ICMR,” the invitation of EoI said. Subject to the terms and conditions of an agreement, more particularly a license agreement, ICMR shall grant a non-exclusive license to the manufacturer, a royalty bearing right and license to use and practice the technology and process (“licensed technology”) to manufacture, sell and commercialise the product, including a non-exclusive right to manufacture, sell and market products worldwide and the right to use licensed technology for manufacturing products worldwide. The agreement, following EoI, is proposed to be executed on “non-exclusive” basis with multiple manufacturers due to the extensive demand of SARS-CoV2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) real- time RT-PCR assay that is being envisaged, the document said. (PTI)

12:05 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: No fresh Covid-19 case logged in Arunachal for third consecutive day

No fresh COVID-19 case was registered in Arunachal Pradesh for the third consecutive day on Monday, while three more patients were cured of the disease, a senior health official said here. Arunachal Pradesh's COVID-19 tally remained at 55,320, while the number of active cases dipped to 23 and the total number of recoveries stood at 55,017, the official said. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 280 as no fresh fatality was reported, State Surveillance Officer Dr Lobsang Jampa said. The COVID-19 recovery rate in the state now is 99.45 per cent, he said. The Capital Complex region, comprising Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Banderdewa areas, has the highest number of active cases at 18, followed by Namsai, West Kameng, Tawang, Lohit and East Siang districts at one each. The administration has tested over 12.02 lakh samples for COVID-19, including 100 on Sunday, Jampa said. State Immunisation Officer Dr Dimong Padung said that 14,47,803 people have been inoculated so far, including 22 on Sunday. (PTI)

11:46 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Five more cases take total Omicron infections in Karnataka to 19

Five more cases of Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus were found in Karnataka taking the total to 19. According to Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar, the five cases were detected on Sunday in Dharwad, Bhadravathi in Shivamogga district, Udupi and Mangaluru. He said a 54-year old man from Dharwad, a 20-year old woman from Bhadravathi, a 82-year old man and a 73-year old woman from Udupi, and a 19-year old woman from Mangaluru contracted the Omicron variant. All the infected people have been inoculated with both the doses of Covishield vaccine. Their travel history and contacts with international travellers are being ascertained. None of them has any COVID-19 symptoms and were healthy, the department said. The person isolated in Bhadravathi was in contact with 218 people and all of them underwent tests. Out of them, 26 have tested positive. Their samples have been sent for further probe, the department added. Further, 18 people who were the primary and secondary contacts of the 19-year old student in Mangaluru were found COVID-19 infected. (PTI)

11:32 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Germany warns of fifth Covid-19 wave

Germany ruled out a Christmas lockdown but warned a fifth COVID-19 wave could no longer be stopped. It will also impose quarantine on travellers from Britain from midnight on Monday and require a negative COVID-19 test for entry into the country.

11:22 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Australia resisted calls to make masks mandatory indoors

Australian authorities resisted calls to make masks mandatory indoors and limit the numbers of patrons at Sydney venues, even as new infections lingered near records. (Reuters)

11:11 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: NBA postpones 5 more games; Young, Vogel enter protocols

The NBA has postponed a total of five games involving nine teams in response to rising coronavirus numbers, raising the number of contests that have been pushed back this season to seven. Called off were three Sunday games: Cleveland at Atlanta, Denver at Brooklyn and New Orleans at Philadelphia. Also shelved were Orlando's game at Toronto on Monday and Washington's game at Brooklyn on Tuesday. The postponements came on the same day that Atlanta announced star guard Trae Young entered the league's health and safety protocols and the Los Angeles Lakers said coach Frank Vogel also was added to the list. Leaguewide, through Sunday evening, there were at least 75 players from 20 teams who have either been ruled out to play — or in the case of the postponed games, would have been ruled out — because they are in the protocols. That number has soared in recent days, with the NBA just one of many sports leagues worldwide dealing with a rapidly worsening issue. “This isn't going to go away today, tomorrow or the next day,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said Sunday. “This is going to be here for a while.” (AP)

10:54 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: One new COVID-19 case in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

The union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands recorded one new COVID-19 case in the last 24 hours, pushing the tally to 7,702, a health department official said on Monday. The single case was detected during contact tracing, he said. The archipelago now has only three active COVID-19 cases and all the patients are in the South Andaman district. The other two districts – North and Middle Andaman and Nicobar – are coronavirus free, the official said. A total of 7,570 people have recovered from COVID-19 so far. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 129 as no fresh fatality due to the contagion was reported in the last 24 hours, he said. The union territory had also reported one new COVID-19 case on Sunday. The administration has so far tested 6,52,064 samples for COVID-19 and the cumulative test positivity rate is 1.18 per cent At least 5,86,145 beneficiaries have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine so far, of which 2,98,761 have received the first dose and 2,87,384 both doses of the vaccine, the official added. (PTI)

10:43 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: We need to expand and strengthen vaccination programs around the world, says WHO Chief Scientist
We need to expand and strengthen vaccination programs around the world, in view of the Omicron variant of COVID19. Hopefully, vaccinations will continue to protect against getting severely ill: Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO pic.twitter.com/WuAqmvAMYF
— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2021
10:40 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Mumbai civic chief urges people to avoid Christmas, New Year parties

Amid the fear of spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has appealed to citizens to avoid gatherings and parties during the upcoming Christmas festival and New Year, and warned of stringent action against those who flout rules. Maharashtra has so far reported 54 cases of the Omicron variant. Out of these, 22 are from Mumbai, including cases found through screening at the international airport here, as per official data. In a press release issued on Sunday, Chahal said due to the new virus variant Omicron, the situation at many countries in the world has once again gone out of control and has created a lockdown-like situation. He said despite repeated appeals by the government and administration to prevent a possible third wave of COVID-19, the guidelines are not being followed properly in most places – especially at wedding ceremonies and other functions, and there is a need to curb the growing crowds at such events. Chahal asked citizens to strictly adhere to rules regarding attendance at weddings and other functions. (PTI)

10:31 (IST) 20 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Active COVID-19 cases in country lowest in 572 days

With 6,563 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,47,46,838, while the active cases declined to 82,267, the lowest in 572 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The death toll climbed to 4,77,554 with 132 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am. The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been recorded below 15,000 for the last 53 days now. The active cases comprise 0.24 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.39 per cent, the highest since March 2020,the ministry said. A decline of 1,646 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23. (PTI)