Coronavirus Omicron Highlights: Maharashtra reports 11 new cases of Omicron variant, tally rises to 65

Covid-19 India Highlights, New Omicron Variant Cases in India, Coronavirus Vaccine Statistics and Registration Latest Highlights: India recorded 5,326 new Covd-19 cases, 8,043 recoveries, and 453 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per the data shared by the health ministry

covid-19, omicron, omicron cases in India, omicron tally
India's Active caseload currently stands at 79,097; lowest in 574 days (Image Source: Reuters)

Coronavirus Vaccine Registration, Coronavirus Omicron Variant Cases in India Highlights: In a matter of global concern, federal health officials have confirmed on Monday that Omicron has raced ahead of other variants in the US and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers showed nearly a six-fold increase in omicron’s share of infections in only one week, news agency PTI reported.

India too saw a siginificant rise in Omicron cases on Monday which created a sense of fear and caution amongst the people and the state governments. Delhi led the increase in Omicron tally on Monday with eight cases, closely followed by Karnataka and Kerala with five and four cases, respectively. One case each was reported from Rajasthan and Gujarat as well. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed that of the total 161 cases of the new variant detected on Monday, 13% were mild, 80% were asymptomatic and 44 had recovered so far. The minister said that the Centre is keeping a close watch on the Omicron situation in the country and the virus has also been cultured in labs domestically to test the efficacy of the existing vaccines. He also said that the first and second wave of the coronavirus had prepared the government to arrange a “buffer stock of important medicines” in case their need arises.

Amid the Omicron scare and the growing number of coronavirus cases in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday afternoon said all samples that test positive for the infection will now be sent for genome sequencing, news agency PTI reported. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority in which the Omicron situation, including its possible effects and steps to deal with it, was discussed, the Delhi CM was quoted as saying by PTI. Kejriwal even urged the government to allow booster shots to fully vaccinated city residents. The chief minister also asked the people not to panic, and make sure they wear masks when out to protect themselves against the virus.

The number of coronavirus cases are also being reported in hundreds across the country. While Maharashtra on Monday reported 544 new Covid-19 infections, Tamil Nadu recorded 605. Kerala on the other hand saw a staggering 2,230 new infections in the state which took the caseload to 52,07,990.

Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry on Monday morning shared the latest data on the coronavirus cases and related stats, in the country. As per the data, India recorded 5,326 new Covd-19 cases, 8,043 recoveries, and 453 deaths in the last 24 hours.

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

Live Updates
11:50 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: MP sees 23 COVID-19 cases, 1 death; active tally now 187

The number of COVID-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh reached 7,93,532 on Tuesday after 23 people were detected with the infection, while one death took the toll to 10,530, an official said.

So far, 7,82,815 people have been discharged from hospitals post recovery, including 19 during the day, leaving the state with an active tally of 187, he said.

With 53,638 samples being examined during the day, the number of tests carried out in MP went up to 2,30,91,740, the official added.

A total of 9,89,63,093 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far in the state, including 2,73,480 on Tuesday, a government release informed.

Coronavirus figures in MP are as follows: Total cases 7,93,532, new cases 23, death toll 10,530, recoveries 7,82,815, active cases 187, number of tests so far 2,30,91,740. (PTI)

10:35 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Maharashtra reports 825 new COVID-19 cases, 792 recoveries and 14 deaths in the last 24 hours

Maharashtra reports 825 new COVID-19 cases, 792 recoveries and 14 deaths in the last 24 hours.

11 more patients have been found to be infected by Omicron. Till date, a total of 65 patients infected with the #omicron variant have been reported in the state. (ANI)

10:35 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Maharashtra to give Rs 31.92 crore to kin of 6,385 victims as COVID-19 compensation

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday issued an order to disburse Rs 31.92 crore to 6,385 applicants whose kin succumbed to COVID-19.

The order, issued by the state department for disaster management, said Rs 50,000 cash will be transferred.

Over 1 lakh COVID-19 patients have died in Maharashtra since the pandemic began in March last year. (PTI)

10:17 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Omicron thrice more transmissible than Delta; ‘activate’ war rooms, emergency operation centres: Govt to states, UTs

Asserting that the Omicron variant is at least thrice more transmissible than Delta, the Centre Tuesday asked states and union territories to “activate” war rooms, keep analyzing even small trends and surges and keep taking strict and prompt containment action at district and local levels.

In a letter to the states and union territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan advised implementing strategic interventions for containment like imposition of night curfew, strict regulation of large gatherings, curtailing numbers in marriages and funerals besides increasing testing and surveillance. | Read More

10:06 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: We’ve allowed New Year’s celebrations but with strict Covid protocols, says Puducherry LG

We've allowed the New Year's celebrations here as it's a tourist destination but with strict Covid protocols. We are doing door-to-door vaccination. I appeal to people to get the vaccination done before New Year's celebrations: Puducherry LG, Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan (ANI)

9:49 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Kerala reports 2,748 new cases, 33 deaths and 3,202 recoveries today

COVID-19 | Kerala reports 2,748 new cases, 33 deaths and 3,202 recoveries today; Active cases at 28,035. Death tally at

45,155

200 deaths were added to the death tally as per the new guidelines of the Central government, states Kerala govt. (ANI)

9:24 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Over 68,000 people fined in Delhi till December 18 for Covid norms violations

Amid growing cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the city, authorities have intensified enforcement of Covid appropriate behaviour and fined over 68,000 people this month till December 18 for violating norms such as wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing etc., official data showed.

Last month in November, the Delhi government's enforcement teams had issued challans against 1,12,076 people for violating Covid appropriate behaviour norms. While the police had issued 4675 fines against people for not wearing masks in the same month.

According to data provided by the Delhi government, enforcement teams of the government and Delhi police cumulatively fined 68,833 people for not wearing masks and not following social distancing norms between December 1 and 18.

“Delhi government teams challaned 66,85 people for not adhering to COVID appropriate behaviour this month till December 18. While Delhi Police fined 1983 people for similar offence till December 16. So by the end of this month we may cross the number of people fined in November,” a government official said.

Delhi has recorded 54 cases of Omicron variant so far. Delhi tops the country jointly with Maharashtra in terms of Omicron variant cases. The country has so far witnessed 200 cases of Omicron variant.

The data also showed that the authorities have lodged FIRs against 1,210 offenders in connection with not following COVID norms.

The government has realised a revenue of Rs 13,28,45,200 in December so far by imposing fines against violators.

In November, the government had collected Rs 21.23 crore from fines issued against violators of COVID appropriate behaviour.

In October this year, the government had issued 1,27,862 fines and collected revenue of Rs 25.10 crore.

The number of fines issued was highest in July this year between May and December. In July the authorities had issued 2,44,223 fines against violators for not wearing masks and not following social distancing.

Omicron cases had started growing in the country with the starting of December.

Delhi reported its first case of Omicron on December 5 when a 37-year-old fully vaccinated man who arrived in the city from Tanzania was tested positive for Omicron.

According to the authorities, Delhi has recorded 102 fresh COVID-19 cases with one fatality on Tuesday.

After a meeting of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Monday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday made an appeal to the public to not let their guards down and start wearing masks again to arrest the spread of coronavirus.

He also said that there was no need to panic as the Delhi government is fully prepared to deal with the Omicron variant of Covid and he is in constant touch with experts over the issue.

He had said that all the positive cases will now be sent for genome sequencing to ascertain if the new positive cases are Omicron variant or the normal Covid. (PTI)

8:44 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Mumbai Covid guidelines state permission needed for gatherings of 200 and more people

Amid Omicron scare, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said that prior permission is now mandatory for any program or event to be attended by 200 or more people.

As per a circular issued on December 20, permission of the local assistant municipal commissioner will be required for such programs or functions. | Read More

8:31 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Tamil Nadu reports 602 new cases, 5 deaths and 691 recoveries

COVID-19 | Tamil Nadu reports 602 new cases, 5 deaths and 691 recoveries; Active cases 7,078 (ANI)

8:15 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Maharashtra reports 11 new cases of Omicron variant, tally rises to 65

Maharashtra reports 11 new cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus, tally rises to 65: Health dept (PTI)

8:10 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Union Health Secretary writes to all States/UTs over Omicron

Union Health Secy Rajesh Bhushan writes to all States/UTs: “Omicron is at least 3 times more transmissible than Delta. Hence, even greater foresight, data analysis, dynamic decision making & strict & prompt containment action are required at the local & district level” (ANI)

7:56 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Andhra Pradesh logs 95 fresh COVID-19 cases, 1 death

Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday logged 95 fresh COVID-19 cases , taking the cumulative infections to 20,75,974, while the toll rose to 14,481 with one more fatality.

Active cases stood at 1,432, a health department bulletin said providing details of the last 24 hours ending 9 AM today.

As many as 179 people recovered from the disease leaving the total number of recoveries at 20,60,061, the bulletin said.

The lone death was reported in Krishna district.

Over 27,000 samples were tested during the last 24 hours. The total number of samples tested is over 3.10 crore.

Chittoor district topped the chart with highest number of active cases with 273 followed by East Godavari (236). (PTI)

7:41 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: RT-PCR testing rate in Delhi up from 50 per cent in Dec 2020 to nearly 90 per cent

RT-PCR tests account for 88.50 per cent of the total COVID-19 tests conducted so far in December, up from 50 per cent in the corresponding month last year, according to government data.Officials said the increase can be attributed to the “credibility” associated with RT-PCR tests and better testing infrastructure as compared to the last year.Government data showed that out of 11.86 lakh Covid tests conducted so far in December, 10.49 lakh were RT-PCR tests. | Read More

7:28 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Satyendar Jain says 3 Omicron positive patients in Delhi have no travel history

Three out of the 34 Omicron-positive patients admitted at the Lok Nayak Hospital here do not have any travel history, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Tuesday. Jain also reiterated the demand to stop all international flights, saying it is the only way to contain the spread of the new Covid variant in India. | Read More

7:15 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Govt says over 96 lakh healthcare workers fully vaccinated against Covid till December 17

Over 96 lakh healthcare workers out of the 1.05 crore registered with the government’s CoWIN portal have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus till December 17, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.In written response to a question in the Upper House of Parliament, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said states and union territories are expected to maintain details of the healthcare workers infected with the virus. | Read More

7:00 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Govt deliberating scientific evidences on Covid vaccination of children

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) and the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) are deliberating and considering scientific evidences related to vaccination of children, Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday. | Read More

6:39 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Govt data shows total number of Omicron cases in Delhi rises to 54

The total number of cases of new Omicron variant of COVID-19 recorded in the national capital has mounted to 54, according to data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday. Some details related to 45 of these cases in Delhi have been shared by authorities, but details on the remaining nine cases are awaited. | Read More

6:25 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: What research on vaccine coverage against Omicron shows and what it means for global community

Vaccine protection against Omicron: With the Omicron variant emerging, naturally numerous studies also began to look into whether the current vaccines would be sufficient to tackle the variant. Now, new studies are indicating that vaccines, especially booster shots, could provide protection from the worst outcomes of the omicron variant of coronavirus, according to a report in NYT. The research studies, however, have also said that the fast-spreading variant would be able to cause many breakthrough infections among the vaccinated populations, while also being able to re-infect people who have caught an older variant of SARS-CoV-2. | Read More

6:11 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Thailand reinstates mandatory COVID-19 quarantine over Omicron concerns

Thailand reinstates mandatory COVID-19 quarantine over Omicron concerns (Reuters)

5:57 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says 34 cases of Omicron variant in LNJP hospital

Till now, there're 34 cases of Omicron variant in LNJP hospital. Out of these 34 patients, 17 patients discharged: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain

We will check with the Centre's & private hospitals: Satyendar Jain on being asked about MoHFW stating 54 Omicron cases in Delhi (ANI)

5:33 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Delhi reports 102 new cases, 1 death in the last 24 hours

COVID-19 | Delhi reports 102 new cases, 1 death in the last 24 hours; Active caseload stands at 557 (ANI)

4:27 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: AstraZeneca Covid vaccine protection wanes after three months, says Lancet study

The protection offered by the Oxford-Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine declines after three months of receiving two doses of the preventive, according to a study published in The Lancet journal. The findings drawn from datasets in Brazil and Scotland suggest that booster programmes are needed to help maintain protection from severe disease in those vaccinated with AstraZeneca, known as Covishield in India. The researchers analysed data for two million people in Scotland and 42 million people in Brazil who had been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. In Scotland, when compared with two weeks after receiving a second dose, there was approximately a fivefold increase in the chance of being hospitalised or dying from COVID-19 nearly five months after being double vaccinated, the researchers said. The decline in effectiveness begins to first appear at around three months, when the risk of hospitalisation and death is double that of two weeks after the second dose, they said. The researchers from Scotland and Brazil found that the risk of hospitalisation and death increases threefold just short of four months after the second vaccine dose. Similar numbers were seen for Brazil, they said. “Vaccines have been a key tool in fighting the pandemic, but waning in their effectiveness has been a concern for a while,” said Professor Aziz Sheikh, from the University of Edinburgh, UK. “By identifying when waning first starts to occur in the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, it should be possible for governments to design booster programmes that can ensure maximum protection is maintained,” Sheikh said. The team was able to compare data between Scotland and Brazil as they had a similar interval between doses — 12 weeks — and initial prioritisation of who was vaccinated — people at highest risk of severe disease and healthcare workers. The dominant variant was different in each country during the study period — Delta in Scotland and Gamma in Brazil. This means the decline in effectiveness is likely because of vaccine waning and the impact of variants, according to the researchers. (PTI)

4:15 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Karnataka restricts New Year celebrations
We've restricted public celebration of new year, however, celebrations are permitted in clubs and restaurants with 50% seating capacity without any special event like DJ. Full vaccination is mandatory. These restrictions will be in effect from Dec 30 till Jan 2: Karnataka CM pic.twitter.com/fi3yzf7Jpj
— ANI (@ANI) December 21, 2021
4:00 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: As Omicron surges, Biden to expand testing and warn unvaccinated

The Biden administration will open federal COVID-19 testing sites in New York City this week and buy 500 million at-home rapid tests that Americans can order online for free starting in January as it tries to tackle the Omicron variant sweeping the country. Striking a more dire tone about the risks of remaining unvaccinated, President Joe Biden will lay out the initiatives on Tuesday in a speech that aims to persuade Americans to protect themselves from the fast-spreading variant, a senior administration official said. The measures include activating some 1,000 military medical personnel to support hospitals. “We will also note that if you are unvaccinated, you are at high risk of getting sick. This variant is highly transmissible and the unvaccinated are eight times more likely to be hospitalized and 14 times more likely to die from COVID,” the official said. With the holiday travel season already begun, new COVID-19 cases are surging in the United States, prompting local and federal officials to again confront just how far to go to combat the virus. Federal officials said that Omicron now accounts for 73% of all new cases, up from less than 1% at the beginning of the month. Health officials in Texas said on Monday the state recorded what ABC News reported is believed to be the first known U.S. death related to Omicron. The highly contagious variant was first detected last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong, and has raced around the globe and been reported in 89 countries, the World Health Organization said on Saturday. Lines for COVID-19 tests wrapped around the block in New York, Washington and other U.S. cities over the weekend as people clamored to find out if they were infected before celebrating the holidays with family. Facing criticism that testing resources are inadequate, Biden will announce on Tuesday that the federal government will buy 500 million at-home rapid tests and make them available to all Americans in January. Americans can access a new website to have them delivered, but officials are still working on how many tests a household can request. The administration will also open multiple federal testing centers starting in New York City ahead of Christmas, a senior administration official said. More federal sites will be opened across the country in areas of high need and when requested by local and state officials, the official said. (Reuters)

3:42 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Hungary rejoins EU’s vaccine procurement system due to Omicron variant -PM

Hungary decided to rejoin the European Union's COVID-19 vaccine procurement process to shield its population from the Omicron variant, ordering 9.5 million doses of the jab developed by BioNTech SE and Pfizer . Prime Minister Viktor Orban also told a news conference on Tuesday that he expected the European Commission would publish a clear stance before the end of the year including nuclear energy in its “sustainable finance taxonomy”, a rulebook that will restrict which activities can be labelled as climate friendly investments. (Reuters)

3:10 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: BSP MP Danish Ali tests positive for Covid

BSP MP Danish Ali who attended Lok Sabha proceedings on Monday has tested positive for COVID-19. The parliamentarian, who is fully vaccinated, has mild symptoms. Ali tweeted on Tuesday to say that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. “Despite being fully vaccinated, today, I tested positive for COVID-19. Yesterday, I attended Parliament also,” he said and requested all those who came in contact with him to get tested and isolate themselves. “I am having mild symptoms and hope to recover soon,” he said. The Winter Session of Parliament is scheduled to end on December 23. (PTI)

2:58 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: 17 out of 34 Omicron patients in Delhi discharged
Till now, there are 34 cases of the Omicron variant of COVID19 in Delhi. Out of these 34 patients, 17 patients have been discharged. CM has ordered that all positive cases in Delhi will be sent for genome sequencing for Omicron: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain pic.twitter.com/CyD2pDwA7E
— ANI (@ANI) December 21, 2021
2:45 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: BSP MP Danish Ali tests positive for Covid

BSP MP Danish Ali who attended Lok Sabha proceedings on Monday has tested positive for COVID-19. The parliamentarian, who is fully vaccinated, has mild symptoms. Ali tweeted on Tuesday to say that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. “Despite being fully vaccinated, today, I tested positive for COVID-19. Yesterday, I attended Parliament also,” he said and requested all those who came in contact with him to get tested and isolate themselves. “I am having mild symptoms and hope to recover soon,” he said. (PTI)

2:35 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Complete vaccination crosses 75 per cent mark in Kerala

The complete COVID vaccination has crossed the 75 per cent mark in Kerala as over two crore people have received both the first and second doses of the jab, the state government said here on Tuesday. A total of 2,60,09,703 crore people- 97.38 per cent of the total population to be vaccinated, have taken the first dose of the jab while 2,00,32,229 people-75 per cent- received the second shot, state Health Minister Veena George said here. As many as 4,60,41,932 doses-both first and second, were given in this regard in the southern state, she said in a statement here. “This is much higher than the national average. Kerala has achieved this feat when the percentage of the first and second dose vaccinations stood at 88.33 and 58.98 per cent respectively at the national level,” George said. Almost 100 per cent people have received the first dose in Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Ernakulam, Wayanad and Kannur districts, she said. The high range Wayanad is ahead in the drive of complete vaccination with 85 per cent people receiving two doses of the jab. Health workers and COVID front line fighters have received 100 per cent of the first dose and 91 and 93 per cent of the second dose respectively, she said. More women have taken vaccine shots in comparison to men in the state, she said, quoting figures. A total of 2.40 crore doses of vaccine have been received by women against 2.19 shots by men, George added. Stating that special vaccination drives are underway in the state in view of Omicron, the minister said Kerala presently has a stock of 10 lakh vaccine doses She also urged people to abide by social distancing norms and other health protocols strictly and those who were yet to receive the jabs, to take them at the earliest. (PTI)

2:21 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Over 25k new Covid-19 cases recorded in Russia

RUSSIA REPORTS 25,907 NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES IN PAST 24 HOURS (Reuters)

2:15 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Thailand reinstates mandatory COVID-19 quarantine, scraps waiver programme

Thailand will reinstate its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for foreign visitors and scrap a quarantine waiver from Tuesday, a government spokeswoman said, due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. (Reuters)

2:07 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: 4 UK travellers test coronavirus positive in Goa

Four passengers from the United Kingdom tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in Goa on Tuesday, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said. In the wake of scare regarding the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Goa government has set up a special facility at a primary health centre (PHC) at Cansaulim in South Goa district where COVID-19 patients are kept while their samples are sent for genome sequencing to ascertain if they are infected with the new variant. The coastal state has so far not reported any case of the Omicron variant. Rane in a tweet on Tuesday said, “All passengers who arrived from UK today morning were tested on arrival. Four travellers have been tested positive. They have been isolated at PHC Cansaulim.” The passengers had arrived here by a flight being operated under the government's Vande Bharat Mission (VBM). The Goa Airport in a tweet said, “Today morning 103rd VBM flight arrived from London @HeathrowAirport at Goa Airport. Int'l Arrival pax undergo thermal screening and complete exit formalities upon arrival. Team Goa resolved to provide safe and smooth arrivals of pax.” Goa on Monday reported 27 new cases of coronavirus, raising the infection tally in the state to 1,79,769, while the death toll remained unchanged at 3,485, an official earlier said. (PTI)

1:40 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Moderna could be ready to develop Omicron booster in weeks – CEO

COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna does not expect any problems in developing a booster shot to protect against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and could begin work in a few weeks, Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said in an interview. Moderna hopes to start clinical trials early next year on a vaccine to protect against the fast-spreading Omicron variant but for now is focussing on a booster dose of its current mRNA-1273 vaccine.

“It only needs minor adjustments for Omicron. I don't expect any problems,” Bancel said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper TagesAnzeiger published on Tuesday. The company was now awaiting important information on the variant to begin development. “That will take another week or two,” Bancel said. “It will take a few months before we can produce 500 million doses after (regulatory) approval. But our capacities are much higher today than a year ago,” he said. If approval bodies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Switzerland's Swissmedic require further studies, that would add at least three months. “Some authorities want a study, others are still undecided. In my opinion, it depends very much on how severely the disease progresses,” he said. Following delivery delays and lags in production in early 2021, Moderna is now able to keep up with production targets and deliver orders on time. The company made between 700 million and 800 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year, and expects to produce a higher number in 2022, boosting production from 100 million doses a month to 150 million. Additional production lines that are being built via a deal with Swiss-based drugmaker Lonza will become operational in the first quarter of 2022, boosting production, he said, adding the company for the first time had 30 million doses in stock. After signing preliminary agreements with Canada and Australia, Moderna has begun discussions with Switzerland over a so-called vaccine subscription that could ensure supply as it develops novel mRNA vaccine, and is interested in deepening ties with other regimes. “We have a number of new vaccines in development, for example against influenza or against the RS virus, which causes a respiratory disease that is fatal in the elderly and young children,” Bancel said. “We can combine these three mRNA vaccines into one dose and propose to governments to secure supplies for a certain amount for several years and then invest in a production facility in that country.” That would give those countries priority supply in the event of a new pandemic, he said. (Reuters)

1:30 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Two omicron cases detected in Odisha

At least two people in Odisha have tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19, the first cases of the latest version of coronavirus in the state, officials said on Tuesday. Bhubaneswar-based Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) confirmed the existence of the variant in the two patients after conducting the genome sequencing of 12 samples. Both of them have travel history to foreign nations – Nigeria and Qatar, respectively, they said. The returnee from the African country is fully vaccinated, and is stable in hospital, Cuttack District COVID-19 Nodal Officer Umesh Ray said. All his contacts have tested negative, he added. The other patient is also stable in hospital. Since the outbreak of the latest variant, 8,800 people arrived in Odisha from different countries, including 1,600 from “at-risk” nations, the officials said. “It was expected that omicron would make its way to the state. However, there is no need to panic as the new variant has mild symptoms on the patients.” (PTI)

1:20 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live tracker: Passengers from UK who arrived in Goa, test Covid-19 positive
All passengers who arrived from UK today morning were tested on arrival. Four travellers have been tested positive. They have been isolated at PHC Cansaulim: Vishwajit Rane, Minister for Health, Goa

(File photo) pic.twitter.com/oAHoVSRNzJ
— ANI (@ANI) December 21, 2021
1:12 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: India conducts over 66.61 cr Covid-19 tests
#unite2fightcorona

➡️ Over 66.61 Cr COVID Tests conducted so far.

➡️ Weekly Positivity Rate currently at 0.59%; less than 1% for last 37 days.

➡️ Daily Positivity Rate stands at 0.53%. pic.twitter.com/djEbVJFSh9
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) December 21, 2021
1:02 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Puducherry sees addition of 20 new cases of coronavirus

Puducherry witnessed an addition of 20 fresh cases to its COVID-19 tally during the last twenty-four hours ending 9 AM on Tuesday taking the cumulative figure to 1,29,345. The new cases identified at the end of examination of 2,700 samples were spread over Puducherry 8, Karaikal and Mahe regions six cases each. Yanam an enclave of Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh did not register any new case of infection. Director of Health G Sriramulu said in a release that the active cases were 132 of whom 33 were in hospitals and the remaining 99 were in home isolation. He said that no fresh fatality was reported and the total toll remained 1,880. The Department of Health has tested so far 20,27,877 samples and has found 17,18,160 out of them to be negative. The Director said 19 patients recovered and were discharged during last twenty-four hours and the total recoveries were 1,27,335. The health department has administered so far 13,52,006 doses which comprised 8,17,755 first doses and the remaining 5,34,251 second jabs. Meanwhile, Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan took a stroll through Bharathi street here and persuaded the shop owners, members of public and pavement vendors to take the jabs if they had not so far been vaccinated. “Vaccination against pandemic is very necessary and most effective to prevent onslaught of the pandemic`, she told them and pointed out that vaccination is absolutely necessary particularly when the new variant was posing a threat. Doctors and nursing staff from private and government hospitals also called on the shop keepers, residents and also the passers by in the heart of the town to ascertain whether they had taken the jabs. (PTI)

12:42 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: New Zealand announces measures to keep out omicron variant

New Zealand will shorten the gap between second COVID-19 vaccine doses and boosters and push back the phased reopening of its borders in measures announced Tuesday to keep the omicron variant at bay. COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkin told reporters the government has agreed to a “suite of precautionary measures” in light of the threat posed by the omicron strain of the coronavirus. The gap between a second vaccine dose and a booster will be shortened from six to four months, meaning 82 percent of vaccinated New Zealanders will be due for a booster by February.

New Zealand's strict border regulations so far have been successful in keeping omicron from spreading in the community. The only cases reported so far have been in travelers who are in managed isolation and quarantine. “Public health advice suggests that soon every case coming into our border, into our managed isolation facilities, will be the omicron variant,” Hipkins said. “We already know that booster vaccinations significantly lift an individual's immunity, reducing the spread and the severity of COVID-19.” Plans to allow travelers from Australia to self-isolate from Jan. 17, rather than go through managed isolation, have been pushed back to the end of February. Hipkins said with Australia's New South Wales state “now expecting to record 25,000 cases a day by the end of January, opening the border in mid-January as planned simply presents too high a risk at this point.” (AP)

12:27 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Citizens need not be ashamed to carry vaccination certificate with PM’s photo, says Kerala HC

The Prime Minister is the leader of the nation and not of a political party and citizens “need not be ashamed” to carry a vaccination certificate with his photograph and “morale boosting message”, the Kerala High Court said on Tuesday and dismissed a plea seeking removal of PM's photo from the COVID-19 immunisation certificates. “Nobody can say that a Prime Minister is a Congress Prime Minister or a BJP Prime Minister or the Prime Minister of any political party. But once a Prime Minister is elected as per the constitution, he is the Prime Minister of our country and that post should be the pride of every citizen. “.. they can differ on the policies of the government and even the political stand of the Prime Minister. But the citizens need not be ashamed to carry a vaccination certificate with the photograph of the Prime Minister with a morale boosting message, especially in this pandemic situation,” the high court said. It also said that when COVID-19 pandemic can be eliminated only by vaccination, if the PM gave a message with his photograph, in the certificates, that with the help of medicine and strict control, India will defeat the virus, “what is wrong with it?” The court dismissed the petition with a cost of Rs 1 lakh, saying it was “frivolous”, filed with “ulterior motives”, “publicity oriented” and the petitioner probably also had a “political agenda”. “According to my opinion, this is a frivolous petition filed with ulterior motives and I have a strong doubt that there is a political agenda also to the petitioner. According to me, this is a publicity oriented litigation. Therefore, this is a fit case that is to be dismissed with a heavy cost. “A citizen of this country argues before the High Court that carrying the photograph of his Prime Minister in the vaccination certificate with a morale boosting message in a pandemic situation is an intrusion to his privacy. The petitioner says that it is a 'compelled viewing'. As I observed earlier, these are frivolous contentions, which one never expects from a citizen,” Justice P V Kunhikrishnan said. The court directed the petitioner — Peter Myaliparampil — to deposit the cost in favour of the Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KeLSA) within six weeks. The court said in case of failure to deposit the cost within the stipulated period, KeLSA shall recover the amount from his assets by initiating revenue recovery proceedings against him. It also said that the “petitioner should study the respect to be given to the Prime Minister and others by watching at least the parliamentary proceedings, which are available live on national TV”. The court said that if the petitioner does not want to see his PM or if he was ashamed to see the PM's photo, “he can avert his eyes to the bottom side of the vaccine certificate”. “Therefore, the argument by the petitioner that the photograph of the Prime Minister of India with a morale boosting message to his fellow citizens through the vaccination certificate is a compelled viewing of the photograph of the Prime Minister of India is to be rejected. This is also a frivolous contention raised by the petitioner,” the judge said in his 32-page judgement. The court also said that 'compelled listening or viewing' is only there when the government forces someone to listen or view its messages. The court also said, “What is wrong with politicians? Since a small percentage of politicians are having a bad history, the entire politicians need not be ignored. They are the builders of our nation with innovative ideas.” While imposing the cost, the judge said he was aware the amount was big as far as a citizen was concerned, but when such frivolous contentions are raised by a petitioner, he should know its effect and “the society also should know that if frivolous petitions are filed, the court will not accept the same”. “Thousands of convicted persons in criminal cases are in jail in our country waiting for hearing of their appeals. Thousands of people are waiting for a result in their matrimonial disputes. Thousands of people are waiting for the result of their property disputes. “In such a situation, this court has to consider those litigations as early as possible and this court is doing that every day. In such a situation, when frivolous petitions are filed, that should be dismissed with a heavy cost,” it said. “If the petitioner is coordinating this type of campaign, I have nothing to say but to pity him,” the judge added. The petitioner had contended that the certificate was a private space with personal details on record and therefore, it was inappropriate to intrude into the privacy of an individual. He had contended that adding the Prime Minister's photo to the certificate was an intrusion into an individual's private space. The petitioner, a senior citizen, had contended in his plea that the Prime Minister's photo on his vaccination certificate was a violation of fundamental rights. (PTI)

12:12 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Kuwait to make Covid-19 vaccine booster compulsory for incoming travellers

Kuwait will require travellers arriving to the country to have the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot if more than nine months have passed since their vaccination, the government communication centre tweeted on Monday. Kuwait will also require incoming travellers to quarantine at home for 10 days unless they receive a negative PCR test for the coronavirus within 72 hours of their arrival. (Reuters)

11:55 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: 138.35 cr vaccination doses administered in India
▪️India’s Cumulative COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage exceeds 138.35 Cr

▪️More than 64 Lakh doses administered in the last 24 hours

▪️Recovery Rate currently at 98.40% is highest since March 2020

Details: https://t.co/5rhaiCmR8I #indiafightscorona pic.twitter.com/oVScNTX6RA
— PIB India (@PIB_India) December 21, 2021
11:51 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Likely order of Covid symptoms depends on coronavirus variant, says Study

The most likely order of symptoms that patients with COVID-19 experience is different for different variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a study. The researchers from the University of Southern California in the US wanted to know whether the order of COVID-19 symptoms varied in patients from different geographical regions or with various patient characteristics. Identifying order of symptom onset of infectious diseases might aid in differentiating symptomatic infections earlier in a population thereby enabling non-pharmaceutical interventions and reducing disease spread, they said. The study, published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, used modelling approach to predict symptom order in a set of 373,883 cases in the US between January and May 2020. The most likely symptom order differed between the initial outbreak in China — where fever most often preceded cough, and nausea or vomiting was a common third symptom — and the subsequent spread to the US. In the US, cough was most likely to be the first symptom, and diarrhoea was a more common third symptom. By analysing additional data from Brazil, Hong Kong and Japan, the team showed that the different order of symptoms was associated not with geographic region, weather, or patient characteristics, but with SARS-CoV-2 variants. The presence of the D614G variant in an area — which was predominant in the US in early 2020 — was associated with a higher likelihood of cough being the first COVID-19 symptom experienced by patients. As Japan shifted from the original Wuhan reference strain to the D614G variant, symptom order shifted as well, the researchers said. The study authors hypothesise that the increased transmission of D614G could be linked to the symptom order. “These findings indicate that symptom order can change with mutation in viral disease and raise the possibility that D614G variant is more transmissible because infected people are more likely to cough in public before being incapacitated with fever,” they added. (PTI)

11:40 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Biden to urge Americans to get vaccinated as Christmas nears

As coronavirus cases surge in the days before Christmas, President Joe Biden plans to stress in a speech the importance of getting vaccinated to protect from the wave of infections tied to the new omicron variant. The world is confronting the prospect of a second straight holiday season with COVID-19 as families and friends begin to gather while the variant quickly spreads. Scientists don't yet know whether omicron causes more serious disease, but they do know that vaccination should offer strong protections against severe illness and death. In a preview of Biden's speech Tuesday afternoon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Monday's press briefing that the president doesn't plan to impose any lockdowns and will instead be encouraging people to get inoculated — and, if they're eligible, to get their booster shot. “This is not a speech about locking the country down. This is a speech about the benefits of being vaccinated,” Psaki told reporters. Biden's top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said over the weekend that Biden will issue “a stark warning of what the winter will look like” for unvaccinated Americans. Biden has found himself in the delicate position of both alerting the country to the dangers posed by omicron and reassuring Americans that the vaccines will protect them. White House officials are looking to ease the nation back toward accepting the reality of an endemic virus with far lower stakes for the vaccinated. This has meant setting a difficult balance as cases rise and as deaths and serious illness among the unvaccinated dominate headlines. Underscoring how widespread the virus is, the White House said late Monday that Biden had been in close contact with a staff member who later tested positive for COVID-19. The staffer spent about 30 minutes around the president on Air Force One on Friday on a trip from Orange, South Carolina, to Philadelphia. The staffer, who was fully vaccinated and boosted, tested positive earlier Monday, Psaki said. Psaki said Biden has tested negative twice since Sunday and will test again on Wednesday. Citing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Psaki said Biden didn't need to quarantine and would continue with his regular schedule. There are 40 million eligible but unvaccinated American adults. Efforts to increase vaccination rates have struggled to overcome a series of political, social and cultural divides. Psaki said the president plans to appeal to survival instincts. (AP)

11:22 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Two hundred Omicron cases reported in India so far

Two hundred cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected in India so far out of which 77 patients have recovered or migrated, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday. Maharashtra and Delhi have recorded 54 cases of Omicron variant each, while Telangana registered 20 cases, Karnataka 19, Rajasthan 18, Kerala 15 and Gujarat 14 cases. (PTI)

11:15 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Arunachal Pradesh logs two new COVID-19 cases, three recoveries

Arunachal Pradesh reported two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, pushing the tally to 55,322, a senior health official said here. Three more persons recuperated from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries to 55,020, the official said The COVID-19 death toll in the frontier state remained at 280 as no fresh fatality due to the infection was reported in the last 24 hours, State Surveillance Officer (SSO) Dr Lobsang Jampa said. The COVID-19 recovery rate marginally improved to 99.45 per cent from 99.44 the previous day, while the active ratio dipped to 0.04, he said. Arunachal Pradesh in the last three days did not report any new COVID-19 case. The northeastern state now has 22 active COVID-19 cases, Jampa said. The Capital Complex Region, comprising Itanagar, Naharlagun, Nirjuli and Banderdewa areas, has the highest number of active cases at 16, followed by West Kameng (2), Tawang, Namsai, Lohit and East Siang districts with one case each. A total of 12,03,252 samples, including 257 on Monday, have been tested for COVID-19 in the state, Jampa said, adding that the positivity rate stood at 0.77 per cent. State Immunisation Officer Dr Dimong Padung said a total of 14,50,225 people have been inoculated so far including 2,422 on Monday. (PTI)

11:03 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Colombia detects three cases of Omicron, government says

Colombia's national health institute has identified three cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in the country, the health ministry said on Monday. The cases were found in people living in the coastal cities of Cartagena and Santa Marta. (Reuters)

10:58 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Health Ministry records 200 Omicron cases in India

Two hundred cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus detected in India so far: Union Health Ministry (PTI)

10:53 (IST) 21 Dec 2021
Coronavirus Live Tracker: Moderna says booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine appears protective vs Omicron

Moderna Inc said on Monday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine appeared to be protective against the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus in laboratory testing and that the current version of the shot would continue to be its “first line of defense against Omicron.” The company said its decision to focus on the current vaccine, mRNA-1273, was driven in part by how quickly the recently-discovered variant is spreading. (Reuters)