Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday that 10 cases of Omicron have been detected in the capital so far and 40 people are admitted to the special facility at Lok Nayak Hospital meant for isolating and treating suspected cases of the new Covid variant. Of the 40 people, 38 are COVID-19 positive. “A total of 10 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in Delhi so far. One of them has been discharged,” Jain Read More
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The cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country neared 136 crore on Thursday, the Union health ministry said. As many as 62,90,272 vaccine doses had been administered till 7 pm on Thursday, it said. The daily vaccination tally is expected to increase with the compilation of the final reports for the day by late night, the ministry said. The countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers started on February 2.
“Five more cases of Omicron have been detected in Karnataka today,” tweets Karanataka Health Minister Dr Sudhakar K
Five more cases of #Omicron have been detected in Karnataka today:
— Dr Sudhakar K (@mla_sudhakar) December 16, 2021
A World Health Organization (WHO) official on Thursday said that Omicron cases should not be dismissed as mild as it appears to be spreading faster than any other variants of concern. Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia said that emerging data shows an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, adding that more data is required to reach firm conclusions. “Based on the current limited evidence, Omicron appears to be spreading faster at a rate not seen with any other previous variant. Emerging data from South Africa suggest an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, but more data are needed to draw firmer conclusions,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia said in an interview to ANI.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Thursday said that self-quarantine will be strictly enforced in the state for those coming from abroad after a person coming from a non-high risk country tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Everyone has to strictly follow the self-quarantine norms and avoid social interactions, crowded places, theatres and malls, the minister directed in a high level meeting, a state government release said.
Poland’s Health Ministry has confirmed the country’s first case of infection with the omicron coronavirus variant in a woman from Lesotho. The case was found in a sample examined in Katowice. The ministry tweeted Thursday that the 30-year Lesotho citizen feels well but has been put in hospital isolation. It said national health authorities have taken necessary steps. That usually means contacting, testing and putting under quarantine people who have had contact with the infected person. The first Polish person diagnosed with omicron was a teenager who travelled to China this month and tested positive on arrival.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged people to stick to health protocols and ensure they are vaccinated against COVID-19, after the world’s fourth most populous country detected its first domestic case of the Omicron variant. Jokowi, as the president is known, said the arrival of the highly transmissible variant, which has been reported in more than 70 countries, had been inevitable and warned the public against being complacent while less stringent measures were in place. “I ask people who have not received the vaccine twice, immediately go to a health facility and get the vaccine,” he said in a livestreamed address.
Karnataka reports 303 new cases, 2 deaths and 322 discharges today; Active caseload in the state stands at 7,158.
Goa will get a genome sequencing machine free of cost under an international programme dealing with epidemic control and the equipment is likely to become operational by mid-February, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said on Thursday. Talking to reporters, he said the coastal state will get the genome sequencing machine funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Reaching Impact, Saturation and Epidemic Control (RISE) programme.
Delhi on Thursday recorded 85 fresh COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of 0.15 per cent, according to data shared by the health department here. With this, the city’s COVID-19 caseload climbed to 14,41,935. Of this, over 14.16 lakh patients have recovered from the disease, the health department bulletin stated. The death toll remained unchanged at 25,100, it said. Delhi has recorded two deaths due to COVID-19 so far in December. It had logged seven deaths due to the viral disease in November, four in October and five in September. According to the bulletin, authorities conducted 56,027 tests, including 50,879 RT-PCR ones, the previous day. There are 475 active COVID-19 cases in the national capital, up from 428 a day ago. Of these, 202 cases are in home isolation, the bulletin said.
Tokyo has confirmed its first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in a traveler from the United States, and her friend whom she saw immediately after arrival has since tested positive after going to a soccer game. Separately, the Health Ministry announced Thursday that one of its quarantine officials also tested positive for the omicron variant. The new findings bring Japans confirmed omicron cases to 34. So far, Japans government says all omicron cases have been detected by its border controls, but experts say it would be a matter of time before cases of community transmission start surfacing.
Odisha recorded 173 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, 45 less than the previous day, pushing the tally to 10,52,318, a health department bulletin said. The COVID-19 death toll rose to 8,440 as one more person succumbed to the pathogen. Fifty-three other coronavirus patients have died due to comorbidities so far, according to official data. Of the 173 new cases, Khurda district reported 84, while Cuttack registered 12. Twenty-six children were among those infected, the bulletin said. Odisha now has 1,989 active COVID-19 cases, while 10,41,836 people have so far recovered from the contagion, including 108 in the past 24 hours, it said.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, confirmed that he has tested positive for Covid-19 and will comply with medical guidelines by self-isolation. “I would like to inform you that, earlier today, as part of routine testing for work, I received a positive result on a Covid-19 PCR test. I am in close contact with the UN Medical Services and will isolate as per medical guidelines,” Dujarric said in an email to UN reporters on Wednesday.
China expects more than 1 million passenger trips to be made on a newly opened high-speed rail link to Laos during the peak Lunar New Year travel season early next year, despite COVID-19 travel restrictions. Since its opening on Dec. 3, more than 300,000 passengers have travelled on the China side of the rail line, Chinese state media reported on Thursday. Laos said this week it would reopen for tourists on Jan. 1. People living in five Laotian provinces along the Laos-China railway are to receive COVID-19 booster shots before the reopening to tourism.
With the world battling Omicron, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath held out a ray of hope on Thursday as she said the new variant is expected to be the dominant version over the next one month but is less severe than Delta, which caused mayhem during the second wave. Speaking to CNBC TV18, Gopinath said: “The high number of cases can impact medical centres. Travel restrictions could be imposed if Omicron spreads faster. We need the whole world to get vaccinated or you will keep getting new variants of Covid-19.” READ MORE
Two doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are highly effective against SARS-CoV-2 variants, but protection against Delta infection decreases over time, according to a study conducted in the US. At the time of the study, the omicron variant had not yet been detected in the Southern California region, the researchers said. The research, published in The British Medical Journal on Wednesday, showed the vaccine was effective against COVID-19 hospitalisation associated with the Delta variant. However, vaccine effectiveness against the variant moderately declined with increasing time after vaccination.
BJP leader Ashish Shelar on Thursday sought to know from the BMC whether a Maharashtra minister was also present at the dinner party held at Bollywood directorproducer Karan Johar’s house, after attending which actor Kareena Kapoor and a few other celebrities were found coronavirusinfected. Talking to reporters here, Shelar said, “I want to know whether a Maharashtra minister was present at the dinner party organised at Karan Johar’s residence here. There is discrepancy in the details of the attendees provided out by the celebrities such as Seema Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Is it an attempt to hide some names?” “As per the information shared by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials with me, Seema Khan did not reveal all the names of people who were present at the dinner at Johar’s house. I think it was held on December 8. The names she omitted came to light when Kareena Kapoor was contacted by BMC officials for contact tracing. It raises suspicion about the exact number of people who attended that party,” he said.
A man, who was found infected with COVID-19 in West Bengal after returning from Bangladesh, tested negative for the Omicron variant of coronavirus, a health department official said on Thursday. The patient contracted the Delta strain of coronavirus, he said.
The man, a resident of Barasat in North 24 Parganas district, was found positive for the disease on December 10, and his sample was sent for genome sequencing to ascertain whether he had contracted the new Omicron variant, which has been classified as a highly transmissible virus of concern. “We have received the report of the Bangladesh returnee. He is infected with Delta variant,” the official said. The patient is undergoing treatment in the state-run Beleghata ID and BG Hospital. Earlier, a woman, who was also found infected with COVID-19 here after coming from the UK, tested negative for the Omicron strain.
The hyper mutated Omicron Covid-19 variant infects and multiplies 70 times faster than the Delta variant and the original SARS-CoV-2 in human lungs, according to a study. This may explain the reason why Omicron is transmitting much faster between humans than previous variants, said researchers from the LKS Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed). The variant is now spread to about 77 countries as per the World Health Organization (WHO).
The union territory of Puducherry added 24 fresh coronavirus cases during the last 24 hours taking the overall tally to 1,29,285, a senior official of the Department of Health said on Thursday. The 24 new cases were identified at the end of the examination of 2,501 samples and were spread over Puducherry (15), Karaikal (six) and Mahe (three). Yanam, an enclave of Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh did not nor register any case of infection during the last 24 hours ending 10 AM on Thursday, Director of the Health Department G Sriramulu said in a release.
The Chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Gita Gopinath, on Thursday said that the Omicron variant is expected to be the dominant version over the next one month, however, it is less severe than delta. “The high number of cases can impact medical centres. There could be travel restrictions being imposed if Omicron spreads (faster). Need the whole world to get vaccinated or you will keep getting new variants of COVID-19,” she said.
Experts have told the Maharashtra Cabinet that a large number of Omicron cases are expected in Maharashtra in January, in an alarming warning. According to health experts, these patients will not just be from big cities, but also smaller towns. Following the alarm bells, CM Uddhav Thackeray has directed the health administration to undertake vaccination drive to complete double doses at the earliest.
Maharashtra recorded a sharp rise of 27% in daily Covid numbers in 24 hours. While the state registered 684 cases on Tuesday, the tally rose to 925 on Wednesday.
Meawnhile, the United Kingdom recorded the highest-ever daily number of coronavirus cases on Thursday.
Four new Omicron cases were reported in Kerala on Wednesday evening, taking the state tally to five. Kerala had reported its first Omicron case earlier this month when a returnee from UK was confirmed to be down with the new Covid strain. Two of the fresh Omicron cases are the mother and wife of the first patient, who were on his contact list. They have been isolating.
Meanwhile, India on Thursday harped on the need for vaccines to battle the COVID-19 situation in the world, especially as the virus keeps mutating. “If we need to have any sustainable recovery from the pandemic, it should start with vaccines,” India’s Permanent Representative to UN TS Tirumurti said speaking at a joint PBC-ECOSOC meeting on ‘promoting durable peace & sustainable development in the context of recovery from COVID-19 pandemic.