Coronavirus Updates: Maharashtra Reports 2 More Omicron Cases in Mumbai; Both Asymptomatic

The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation will hold deliberations on a booster dose of Covid vaccine; Delhi's positivity rate rose slightly on Sunday, and the city also saw its first Omicron case.

By: News Desk

Last Updated: December 06, 2021, 22:56 IST

New Delhi

South Africa flag and Omicron
Omicron, which was first identified in South Africa now has been detected in at least 24 countries around the world. (Image: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

Maharashtra on Monday reported two more Omicron cases, taking the total number of infections due to the new Covid-19 variant to 10. Both the patients are asymptomatic and admitted to a hospital. They were both fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine and had returned from the US and South Africa.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), meanwhile, on Monday urged the government to announce “additional” doses of Covid vaccine for healthcare, frontline workers and immunocompromised individuals amid concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus, 21 cases of which been detected in Read More

Dec 06, 2021 22:19 IST

PM Modi Congratulates Himachal CM for Complete Vaccination Against Covid-19

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday for complete vaccination of the state’s eligible adult population against COVID-19. In a tweet in Hindi, Modi stated, “Many many congratulations, Jai Ram Thakur Ji. The residents of Himachal have presented an imitable example in front of the entire country in the fight against Covid.” This initiative of the people will provide a fresh energy to the new India in this fight, he added.

Dec 06, 2021 22:04 IST

13 Int'l Passengers Diagnosed with Covid Test Negative for Omicron in Telangana

All 13 passengers who were diagnosed with COVID-19 here after arriving from “at risk” foreign countries have tested negative for the new SARS-CoV-2 variant, Omicron, the state government said on Monday. The 13 passengers arrived here since last week and were found to be positive for COVID-19 in the RT-PCR tests conducted at the international airport.

Dec 06, 2021 21:50 IST

EU Sources Say No Immediate Plan for Easing Omicron Travel Curbs on Southern Africa

European Union health ministers will discuss the coronavirus pandemic and the spread of the Omicron variant on Tuesday, but are not expected to make any decision on easing travel restrictions, three sources told Reuters. Late in November, EU states agreed to impose travel curbs on seven southern African countries after they reported several cases of the Omicron variant, which is considered highly infectious. Bloomberg News, citing one diplomat familiar with the matter, reported on Monday that EU health ministers at a meeting on Tuesday may agree on the need for a PCR test for vaccinated third-country nationals from that region, which could allow some travel bans to be eased or lifted within a week.

Dec 06, 2021 21:01 IST

Kids, Unvaccinated At Risk of Omicron: WHO Chief Scientist

“Reinfections 90 days after infection are three times more common in omicron compared to delta. (These are) early days to decipher the clinical features of omicron infection. There is a lag between the rise in cases and the rise in hospitalisation. We must wait for two to three weeks to study hospitalisation rates to know how severe this disease is,” she said, adding: “Cases in South Africa are rising fast with omicron variant. Reports show that more children are getting infected by this strain in that country. South Africa is also testing more.”

Dec 06, 2021 21:00 IST

Omicron Fuels Reinfection 3 Times More Than Delta Variant: WHO Chief Scientist

World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan on Monday said that compared to the delta variant of Covid-19, reinfections in the omicron variant — 90 days after the virus first strikes — are three times more common. Speaking exclusively to CNBC-TV18, Dr Swaminathan said that while data on the virulence and transmissibility on variants would take time, what scientists know at present is that omicron is a dominant strain in South Africa.

Dec 06, 2021 19:43 IST

Maha Health Minister Says Call on Curbs in State Only After Consulting Centre, CM

The Maharashtra government is closely monitoring the prevailing coronavirus situation and any decision on reimposing restrictions in the state will be taken only after seeking the Centre’s guidance and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s views, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Monday amid rising concern over detection of cases linked to the new variant Omicron. Speaking to reporters here, Tope said imposing restrictions on the activities allowed in the state at present will be too inconvenient for the people. “It will be too inconvenient for the people if restrictions are imposed on the activities currently allowed. Hence, we will keep a tab on the situation and take a call (on curbs) following the guidance of the Centre and the (state COVID-19) task force and based on the views of the chief minister,” he said.

Dec 06, 2021 19:24 IST

Two More Cases of Omicron Variant Detected in Mumbai, Maha's Tally Rises to 10

Two more cases of Omicron variant have been detected in Mumbai, raising Maharashtra’s tally to 10. A 37-year-old man who had come from South Africa has been tested positive for Omicron variant while his 36-year-old friend, who had come from the USA has also been tested positive for Omicron. Both the persons have been vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine. Both patients have showed no symptoms and are admitted at the Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai.

Dec 06, 2021 19:00 IST

Amid Omicron Scare, Delhi Airport Installs 120 Rapid PCR Machines

Dec 06, 2021 18:41 IST

Active Covid-19 Cases in Andhra Pradesh Fall to About 2,000

Active COVID-19 cases in Andhra Pradesh came down to 2,030 on Monday. In 24 hours ending 9 am on Monday, the state reported 122 fresh positives, 213 recoveries and one death, a health department bulletin said. The cumulative positives has increased to 20,73,852, recoveries to 20,57,369 and deaths 14,453, it said. East Godavari district reported 31 fresh cases, Chittoor and Guntur 18 each, Krishna and Visakhapatnam 15 each.

Dec 06, 2021 18:16 IST

Russia Reports Its First Cases of Omicron Covid-19 Variant

Russia has confirmed the first two cases of the omicron coronavirus variant in the country in travelers who returned from South Africa, health authorities said Monday. The Russian public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said a total of 10 people who returned from South Africa recently tested positive for COVID-19, but the new variant has only been confirmed in two cases so far, with other samples still being studied for omicron.

Dec 06, 2021 17:50 IST

85% of Eligible Population Inoculated with First Dose, Says Health Minister

Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya in a tweet said that 85 percent of the eligible population has been inoculated with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

85% of Eligible Population Inoculated with First Dose, Says Health Minister

Dec 06, 2021 17:47 IST

South Africa Urges Vaccines 'Without Delay' as Cases Surge

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday urged citizens to get vaccinated as the country battles an unprecedented surge in cases driven by the new Omicron variant. The number of daily infections rose five-fold in the space of a week, from 2,828 on November 26 to 16,055 last Friday. About a quarter of tests for coronavirus have been positive, compared to just around two percent of those tested a fortnight ago.

Dec 06, 2021 16:58 IST

Russia Reports Its First Cases of Omicron COVID-19 Variant

Russia has confirmed the first two cases of the omicron coronavirus variant in the country in travelers who returned from South Africa, health authorities said Monday. The Russian public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said a total of 10 people who returned from South Africa recently tested positive for COVID-19, but the new variant has only been confirmed in two cases so far, with other samples still being studied for omicron. All those returning from South Africa in recent days have been quarantined in observation facilities, according to media reports.

Dec 06, 2021 16:28 IST

IMA Demands Booster Shots for Healthcare, Frontline Workers

Indian Medical Association on Monday demanded Covid-19 booster doses for healthcare and frontline workers, sources tell CNN-News18.

Dec 06, 2021 16:20 IST

Kejriwal Urged People Not to Panic and Follow Covid Appropriate Behaviour

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday urged people not to panic in the wake of detection of Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Delhi, but asked them to follow social distancing and use face masks to ward off the disease. The situation emerging after the detection of corona variant was being monitored closely by him, and adequate arrangement of all the requirements like beds and medicines will be made available, the chief minister said in a briefing. ” Omicron has entered the country and its cases have been found at many places including Delhi. I want to appeal the people not to panic and maintain social distancing and use face mask,” he said.

Dec 06, 2021 16:07 IST

Italy Tightens Curbs on Unvaccinated as Covid Cases Rise

Italy tightened curbs on Monday on people still not vaccinated against COVID-19, limiting their access to an array of places and services. The measures were announced last month, even before the discovery of the Omicron variant, and come as cases of coronavirus are starting to tick up across the country, albeit at a slower rate than in many other European nations. Under the new rules, only people who have been vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19 can access indoor seating at bars and restaurants, visit museums, go to cinemas and clubs and attend sporting events.

Dec 06, 2021 16:06 IST

Philippines Tentatively Reopens Schools as Covid-19 Cases Ease

Some children in the Philippines’ capital Manila returned to school on Monday after a near two-year suspension as the country, which has imposed some of the world’s toughest coronavirus curbs, tries to get life back to normal. Wearing face masks and sitting at desks fitted with plastic screens, the children are part of a trial at 28 schools in the capital region. The government aims to reopen all schools in January.

Dec 06, 2021 15:22 IST

Over 9 Crore Vaccine Doses Administered in Madhya Pradesh

More than nine crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Madhya Pradesh since the process started in mid-January this year, a senior official said on Monday. As per the CoWin portal, 9,03,96,161 doses have been administered in the state, with 5,13,86,375 being given the first dose and 3,90,09,786 getting both jabs. He said vaccination was being carried out at 9,495 sites, of which a dominant 9,476 are government ones.

Dec 06, 2021 15:00 IST

1 Confirmed Case of Omicron in Delhi; Govt Focus on Preventing Community Spread of Virus: Satyendar Jain

Delhi has only one “confirmed” case of Omicron, which was found out after 17 of the 27 people brought to LNJP Hospital tested positive of Covid-19, and 12 samples were sent for genome sequencing. All 11 tested Omicron negative while one was positive, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said on Monday. The report of five more suspected cases is awaited. READ MORE

Dec 06, 2021 14:28 IST

WHO Says Variants Will Arise Amid Vaccine Inequity

“We have often said as long as vaccine inequity persists, the more opportunity the virus has to spread and mutate in ways no one can prevent or predict. And so, we have Omicron”: WHO.

href=''>India so far. It also demanded that the government expedite the proposal of vaccinating individuals aged 12 to 18 years. At a press conference, the doctors’ body said that cases of the latest variant of coronavirus were reported from a number of major states of India and the tally, which is in the double digits, is bound to increase.

The issue of administering ‘additional’ dose of COVID-19 vaccine to immunocompromised individuals will be deliberated upon in the meeting of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation scheduled to be held on December 6, official sources said.

According to officials, an additional dose of vaccine is different from a booster dose. A booster dose is given to an individual after a predefined period when the immune response due to primary vaccination is presumed to have declined, while additional dose is given to immunocompromised and immunosuppressed individuals when primary schedule of vaccination does not provide adequate protection from the infection and disease, they explained.

Recently, the Serum Institute of India (SII) sought from the drug regulator an approval for Covishield as a booster dose against the novel coronavirus infection. In an application to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Prakash Kumar Singh, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII, said UK-MHRA has already approved the booster dose for AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, while citing there is no shortage of Covishield in India and that there is a demand for booster dose from those who have already taken two doses in view of the ongoing pandemic and emergence of new strains.

In its bulletin dated November 29, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) recommended booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines for those above 40 years with preference to high-risk and high-exposure population. However, on Saturday it said its recommendation was not for the national immunisation programme as many more scientific experiments are required to assess its impact.

Regarding the administration of booster doses, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had recently informed the Lok Sabha that the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) were deliberating and considering scientific evidences related to this aspect.

“For now the issue of booster dose is not on the agenda as studies are being conducted to ascertain its need and value. “The issue of administering additional dose of COVID-19 to immunocompromised and immunosuppressed individuals will be deliberated upon in the meeting of NTAGI which will be held on December 6,” an official source said.

Basically, cancer patients on therapy, transplants patients, AIDS patients, among others, fall in such categories and need additional dose (third dose) vaccine to improve their protection. Even amid emergence of new variants like Omircron, vaccination remains one of the strongest pillars of protection against disease and infection, experts said.

While there is no evidence to suggest that existing vaccines do not work on the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, some of the mutations reported may decrease the efficacy of the jabs, the Union health ministry said while underscoring definitive evidence for the new variant’s increased remission and immune evasion, is awaited.

“While, there is no evidence to suggest that existing vaccines do not work on Omicron, some of the mutations reported on Spike gene may decrease the efficacy of existing vaccines.

“However, vaccine protection is also by antibodies as well as by cellular immunity, which is expected to be relatively better preserved. Hence, vaccines are expected to still offer protection against severe disease and, vaccination with the available vaccines is crucial. If eligible, but not vaccinated, one should get vaccinated,” the ministry said in a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).

It is important to highlight that Omicron has been declared variant of concern’ (VoC) based on the observed mutations, their predicted features of increased transmission and immune evasion, and preliminary evidence of detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, such as increased reinfections. The definitive evidence for increased remission and immune evasion is awaited, according to the WHO.

Meanwhile, Delhi reported 63 COVID-19 cases and zero death due to the infection while the positivity rate saw a marginal increase to 0.11 per cent from 0.08 per cent the previous day, according to data shared by the Health Department here on Sunday.

The number of cumulative cases of the disease rose to 14,41,358. Over 14.15 lakh patients have recovered so far. The death toll from the pandemic stands at 25,098 in Delhi. Seven deaths linked to the virus were reported in Delhi in November, the highest number of fatalities due to COVID-19 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.

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