Dutch health authorities said Tuesday that the new Covid-19 variant was present in the Netherlands a week earlier than previously believed and checks are underway to see how far it has spread. The RIVM National Health and Environment Institute said it “has found the corona variant Omicron in two test samples that had already been taken in the Netherlands… on November 19 and 23”.
The first cases in the Netherlands had been thought to be the 14 Omicron infections on two KLM flights from South Africa that arrived in Amsterdam on Friday, November 26. The two earlier Dutch infections also came before South Africa Read More
Key EventsKey Events
Telangana on Tuesday reported 196 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the tally to 6,75,994, while the death toll rose to 3,992 with two more fatalities. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 78, followed by Medchal Malkajgiri (20) and Ranga Reddy (15) districts, a state government bulletin said, providing details as of 5.30 PM on Tuesday.
Gujarat on Tuesday reported 40 new coronavirus cases, taking the caseload in the state to 8,27,475, the health department said. While no death was reported during the day, only three fatalities due to the pandemic were reported in the state in November. With 27 patients getting discharged on Tuesday, the number of recovered cases rose to 8,17,108. The death toll of the pandemic remained unchanged at 10,092.
A day after reporting the lowest single-day COVID-19 cases at 536 after April 27 last year, Maharashtra on Tuesday saw 678 fresh infections and 35 fatalities, 14 more compared to the previous day. With the latest additions, Maharashtra’s tally of infections rose to 66,35,658 and the COVID-19 death toll to 1,40,997 on Tuesday, a health bulletin said. A total of 942 patients were discharged during the day, taking the number of recoveries in Maharashtra to 64,83,435 at the recovery rate of 97.71 per cent, leaving the state with 7,555 active cases.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said that those not cooperating with the covid prevention activities will not be given free treatment in case of infection. “The treatment expense of those turning Covid-19 positive without having taken the vaccine will not be borne by the government,” Vijayan said.
No more free treatment for those who do not cooperate with Covid prevention measures. Non vaccinated teachers and employees who work from offices or interact with public, will have to submit weekly results of RTPCR tests, paid for by themselves, to ensure safety of all.
— CMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) November 30, 2021
There are 6 passengers who arrived from South Africa or other ‘high-risk’ countries and have been tested positive for Covid-19. One cases each have been reported in Mumbai Corporation, Kalyan-Dombivali Corporation, Meera-Bhayandar Corporation and Pune. Two cases from Nigeria are in Pimpri-Chinchwad corporation, Maharashtra’s Public Health Department said. Their samples have been sent for genomic sequencing and their contact tracing exercise is underway. All these passengers, though tested Covid-19 positive, are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, the department further informed.
There are 6 pax who arrived from South Africa or other high-risk countries & tested positive for COVID – one each in Mumbai Corporation,Kalyan-Dombivali Corporation, Meera-Bhayandar Corporation & Pune, 2 from Nigeria in Pimpri-Chinchwad corporation: Public Health Dept Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/vrtYMMc9P6
— ANI (@ANI) November 30, 2021
The chief executive of drugmaker Moderna set off fresh alarm bells in financial markets on Tuesday with a warning that existing COVID-19 vaccines would be less effective against the Omicron variant than they have been against the Delta variant. Major European stock markets fell around 1.5% in early trade, Tokyo’s Nikkei index closed down 1.6%, crude oil futures shed more than 3%, and the Australian dollar hit a one-year low as Stephane Bancel’s comments spurred fears that vaccine resistance may prolong the pandemic.
A sudden spike of Covid-19 cases has sent shockwaves in Madhya Pradesh as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan convened a hurriedly organised meet to review the situation after the State capital reported 14 cases in the last 24 hours on Tuesday. The State has recorded 20 cases in the duration. Addressing the senior officers at Mantralaya, Chouhan directed officers on measures like compulsory usage of masks, increasing tests, constituting small containment zones and practising social distancing at public places.
The centre issued new guidelines for international arrivals in India which will be effective from December 1. According to the revised rules, travellers from ‘at-risk’ countries will need to take Covid test post-arrival and wait for results at the airport. Passengers from “at-risk” countries will be tested for Covid post-arrival and can’t leave the airport till their RT-PCR test results are available. If found negative, they will undergo a seven-day home quarantine and be re-tested on the eighth day and if negative, further self-monitor for the next seven days.
Kerala on Tuesday recorded 4,723 fresh COVID-19 cases and 177 deaths, raising the caseload to 51,29,985 and the toll to 40,132, the state government said. With 5,370 more people recovering from the virus since Monday, total recoveries reached 50,57,368 and the active cases dropped to 43,663, an official release said. Of the 177 deaths, 19 were reported over the last few days and 158 were designated as COVID-19 deaths after receiving appeals based on the new guidelines of the Centre and the directions of the Supreme Court, the release said.
The door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination campaign ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ has been extended till December 31 with a focus on 100 percent first dose coverage and completing the backlog of second dose vaccination, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level virtual meeting with states and UTs to review COVID-19 public health response measures and preparedness amid cases of potentially more contagious Omicron variant of COVID19 being reported across various countries.
Rajasthan govt has prepared a few guidelines as per the Centre's guidelines; citizens coming from abroad will be examined for the next 16 days & their test samples will be sent for genome sequencing: Jaipur Chief Medical & Health Officer, Dr Narottam Sharma, on #Omicron pic.twitter.com/g6y28Pscds
— ANI (@ANI) November 30, 2021
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said his government is fully prepared to deal with the potentially more contagious coronavirus variant ’Omicron’ and has set up a dedicated facility at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital if such cases are reported. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has decided to conduct RT-PCR testing on all people arriving from ’high-risk’ countries, genome sequencing of the positive cases and mandatorily isolating the passengers according to the Centre’s guidelines.
People with blood groups A, B and Rh+ are more disposed to catching Covid-19 and those with blood groups AB, O and Rh- are at a much lower risk of the infection, a study at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has revealed. 2,586 Covid-19 positive patients, admitted to the Ganga Ram hospital between April 8, 2020 and October 4, 2020, underwent the study. “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is a new virus, and it is unclear whether blood groups have any impact on Covid-19 risk or progression. Therefore, we investigated the association of ABO and Rh blood group with Covid-19 susceptibility, prognosis, recovery time, and mortality in this study,” Dr. Rashmi Rana, Consultant, Department of Research, was quoted as saying in a report.
Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said that children in the country will likely be vaccinated with the Covovax Covid-19 vaccine, and not Covishield. He also said that the trials of the vaccine is underway and Covovax should be ready in six months. “Not Covishield… Covovax should be available in six months. (The) trials are on… no safety issues so far. We have gone down to the age of seven (with) good results…” Adar Poonawalla said. He said that if the government announces booster dose, his company has enough doses in stock. “If the government announces booster dose, we have enough vaccines in stock. In the private market the booster dose may cost Rs 600.” Read More
Health authorities in Netherlands said that the new Covid-19 variant was present in the Netherlands a week earlier than previously believed and checks are underway to see how far it has spread. The RIVM National Health and Environment Institute said it “has found the corona variant Omicron in two test samples that had already been taken in the Netherlands… on November 19 and 23”.
Seven COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the national capital in November so far this year, the highest count due to coronavirus infection in the last three months, according to official data. Delhi had recorded four Covid deaths in October and five in September. On November 29, the city logged one fatality and 34 fresh cases with an increased positivity rate of 0.08 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department. The city recorded a death each on November 27 and November 28 as well.
Underlining that the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 does not escape RT-PCR and RAT tests, the Centre advised states and UTs on Tuesday to ramp up testing for early identification of any cases, undertake effective surveillance of international passengers and strictly monitor hotspots. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level virtual meeting with states and UTs to review COVID-19 public health response measures and preparedness amid cases of Omicron variant of COVID19 being reported across various countries.
Cambodia has barred entry to travelers from 10 African countries, citing the threat from the new omicron coronavirus variant. The move, announced in a Health Ministry statement issued late Monday, came just two weeks after Cambodia reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers.
Amid mounting concerns over the potentially more contagious coronavirus variant Omicron spreading to many countries, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan held a review meeting with states and UTs on Tuesday and advised them to ramp up testing for early identification and management of cases. Here’s what the Centre advised states to follow.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday said that the state cabinet has expressed concerns about passengers arriving from at-risk countries. “Why should we not ban all flights from at-risk countries? We should request the Central government for this. Cabinet has demanded this. A final decision will be taken in the next few days,” Tope said. A 39-year-old Chandigarh resident who had returned from South Africa a few days ago tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and his sample will now be sent to Delhi for whole genome sequencing. One of his family members and a domestic help have also been found infected with the virus.
In Karnataka, all international passengers who test negative for COVID on arrival in Bengaluru will be put in quarantine for 7 days. They will be tested again after 7 days. 598 such passengers are under surveillance, said Bengaluru Rural District Health Officer Tippeswamy after visiting Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru on Monday.
Even as the World Health Organization flagged risks of the Omicron variant, US President Joe Biden said that this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. “I’ll put forward a detailed strategy, outlining how we are going to fight Covid this winter, not with shutdowns & lockdowns but more widespread vaccination, boosters, testing & more,” Biden said.
“It will be a few weeks before we know everything we need to know about how strongly the existing vaccines protect against the new variant. But Dr. Fauci and our medical team believe that our vaccines will continue to provide a degree of protection against severe disease,” Biden said in a tweet. In Canada, further two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in Ottawa, bringing the country’s total number of cases to five, according to Ottawa Public Health.