Coronavirus News Updates: Subject Expert Committee to Discuss Bharat Biotech's Intranasal Vaccine as Booster

India's cases are seeing an unprecedented rise, while Omicron infection tally also spikes. Meanwhile, vaccination for children aged 15-17 begins today through CoWin portal.

By: News Desk

Last Updated: January 03, 2022, 22:58 IST

New Delhi

A health worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a teenager in Poonch, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Vaccination for teenagers between 15 and 18 age group in India began on Monday. (PTI Photo)

Witnessing a further surge in daily COVID-19 cases, Karnataka on Monday reported 1,290 fresh infections and 5 deaths, taking the count to 30,10,847 and the death toll to 38,351. Of the new cases, 1,041 were from Bengaluru Urban, as the city saw 134 discharges and 3 deaths. The total number of active cases is now at 11,345. The state has registered a steady surge in fresh infections for the sixth consecutive day, since last Wednesday, when the Read More

Jan 03, 2022 22:32 IST

Bihar Reports 344 Fresh COVID-19 Cases, No Death

Bihar’s active caseload on Monday climbed to 1,385 on account of 344 fresh COVID-19 cases which included visitors at a programme of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. According to the health department, Patna district is bearing the brunt of the current spike in coronavirus cases. Altogether 160 people here tested positive for the infection, six of whom were citizens who had come to attend Janata Ke Durbar Mein Mukhyamantri, besides a staff member involved in catering services at the chief minister’s secretariat. The district now accounts for 698 active cases, more than half of the state’s figure. Patna is followed by Gaya which has an active caseload of 365 and where the number of fresh cases was 88, including former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and 17 of his family members and personal staff.

Jan 03, 2022 21:32 IST

Over 40 Lakh Children Get Covid-19 Vaccine on First Day

As India launched a COVID-19 vaccination drive for the 15-18 age group on Monday, over 40 lakh children received their first dose with many of the beneficiaries and their parents saying they feel a sense of relief, especially in the backdrop of the fresh rise in cases. From setting up attractive selfie points to putting up imaginative posters and colourful balloons, the designated vaccination centres, mostly schools and educational institutes, were decked up to welcome the youngsters. The children, some dressed in school uniforms and others in casuals, were greeted with flowers and were gifted pens and eatables at some places after receiving the vaccine.

Jan 03, 2022 20:50 IST

Gujarat Sees 16 New Cases of Omicron Variant; Tally 152

Gujarat reported 16 more cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, taking the tally of such cases to 152, the state health department said. The number of Omicron recoveries remained unchanged at 85. Only one of these 16 patients was without travel history, it said. Ahmedabad city reported seven cases of the new coronavirus variant, raising the tally to 57, the department said in a release. Among other districts, Vadodara, Anand and Jamnagar each reported two new Omicron cases. Kutch, Kheda and Surat each added one Omicron case, it said.

Jan 03, 2022 20:34 IST

Goa's Covid Positivity Rate Crosses 26%, State Logs 631 New Cases

Goa on Monday reported 631 new COVID-19 cases with the positivity rate jumping by 16 per cent to 26.43 per cent, officials said. On Sunday, Goa had recorded a COVID-19 positivity rate at 10.7 per cent and 388 cases. With the new infections, the overall caseload in Goa mounted to 1,82,201 on Monday. Goa has so far reported five cases of the Omicron variant, including four on Monday. The positivity rate is the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive. As cases surged, the state government has decided to close schools and colleges till January 26.

Jan 03, 2022 20:12 IST

Subject Expert Committee to Discuss Bharat Biotech's Intranasal Jab as Booster

The Subject Expert Committee will discuss Bharat Biotech’s intranasal vaccine as a booster in people who’ve received Covaxin and Covishied. The meeting of the SEC of DCGI is scheduled to take place tomorrow, sources said.

Jan 03, 2022 19:57 IST

Nashik Records 216 New Covid-19 Cases, 2 Deaths

The COVID-19 count in Nashik district of Maharashtra rose to 4,14,433 with an addition of 216 new cases, while two more patients succumbed to the infection, officials said. Two coronavirus-linked deaths in the last 24 hours took the toll in the district to 8,758, they said. So far, 4,04,844 coronavirus patients have been discharged from hospitals following recovery, 74 of them during the day, the officials said.As many as 30,33,762 swab samples have been tested till date in the district, of which 4,655 were examined in the last 24 hours, they said.

Jan 03, 2022 19:50 IST

Omicron Driving Spike in Metros But No Need to Panic: Dr NK Arora

Cases of Omicron variant are rapidly increasing in metro cities and the current surge of Covid-19 infections in these big cities are driven by the new variant, Dr NK Arora, the head of country’s vaccine task force said. The Chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) also said that escape capability of Omicron against vaccine is very high and the efficacy of a booster shot is still being evaluated. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Dr NK Arora said, “The proportion of Omicron is rapidly increasing in metro cities. In coming weeks we are going to see a large number of cases and most of these are going to be Omicron.”

Jan 03, 2022 19:39 IST

Eight More Omicron Cases in Haryana, Tally Now 71

Haryana reported eight cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on Monday, pushing the tally of such infections to 71 in the state, according to a health department bulletin. Twelve of the 71 cases are active while the rest have been discharged, the bulletin stated. Meanwhile, the state continued to register a surge in COVID-19 cases, with 793 new infections being reported on Monday, 460 of them from Gurugram alone, the NCR district which is the worst-affected. Faridabad , Panchkula, Karnal and Ambala reported 110, 35, 33 and 41 new infections respectively.

Jan 03, 2022 18:39 IST

Omicron Cases Less Severe, Hospitalisation Rate Lower in South Africa: Study

Infections caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in South Africa were milder compared to those in earlier waves, while hospitalisation rates were lower, according to a study. The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, posted as preprint in The Lancet, analysed the clinical severity of patients hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2 infection during the first four weeks of the Omicron-dominated fourth wave. The researchers at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa and colleagues from other institutes compared the severity to the first four weeks of the Beta dominated second and Delta-dominated third waves in Gauteng Province. They collated daily polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen positive SARS-CoV-2 case data from laboratory reports.

Jan 03, 2022 18:29 IST

Kerala Logs 2,560 New Infections, 71 Deaths

Kerala on Monday recorded 2,560 fresh COVID-19 cases and 71 deaths, taking the caseload to 52,45,849 and the toll to 48,184. Of the 71 deaths, 30 were recorded over the last few days and 41 designated as COVID-19 deaths after receiving appeals based on the new guidelines of the Centre and the directions of the Supreme Court. With 2,150 more people recovering from the virus since Sunday, the total recoveries reached 51,86,737 and the active cases reached 19,359, an official press release said. As many as 43,210 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.

Jan 03, 2022 18:13 IST

Bengal Govt Extends Local Trains Till 10pm

Bengal government announced that local train services will now be extended upto 10 pm in place of 7 pm. The last train to leave will be at 10 pm. Earlier, the government had announced curbs on local trains amid Covid surge.

Jan 03, 2022 18:01 IST

Eligible Persons for 'Precaution Dose' Need Not to Register Again on CoWIN App

Those eligible for the “precaution dose” of Covid-19 will not have to register themselves again on the CoWIN app, said Dr RS Sharma, chief of the vaccination registration platform. He added that beneficiaries can just schedule their appointment for the third dose from the same account. READ MORE

Jan 03, 2022 17:51 IST

Mumbai Schools to Remain Shut Till January 31

Amid rising cases Covid-19 across Maharashtra, schools in Mumbai will remain shut for students in classes 1 to 9 and 11. Students in classes 10 and 12 will be allowed to attend in-person classes as the Maharashtra Board exams are approaching. After the Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad had tested positive for Covid-19, students had demanded that the exams should be deferred.

Jan 03, 2022 17:45 IST

200 Kolkata Doctors, Medical Workers Tested Positive in Past Week

Around 200 doctors and healthcare workers have reportedly been infected by Covid in the past week in Kolkata. From government hospitals to private institutes, medical professionals have been falling prey to the pandemic at a worrying rate, sources say. About 70 doctors at the Calcutta National Medical College have been infected, according to reports. Around the same number of doctors and nurses have caught Covid at NRS hospital. In R Ahmed Dental College, more than 35 doctors and some more health workers have also tested positive, say sources.

Jan 03, 2022 17:29 IST

Delhi Logs 4099 New Covid Cases, Positivity Rate Jumps to 6.46%

The national capital on Monday reported 4,099 new Covid cases, 28 per cent more than on Sunday, and one death due to the disease as the positivity rate rose to 6.46 per cent, according to the data shared by the health department. If the positivity rate is over five per cent for two consecutive days, it would trigger a ‘red alert’ under the Delhi Disaster Management Authority-approved Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) leading to a ‘total curfew’ and halting of most economic activities.

Jan 03, 2022 17:18 IST

66 of 2,000 on Board Mumbai-Goa Cordelia Cruise Test Positive for Covid

As many as 66 persons on board the Cordelia Cruise tested positive for Covid -19 on Monday. There were around 2,000 passengers in the Mumbai-Goa cruise ship, who were not allowed to disembark after a crew member was found positive for Covid. Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane tweeted, “Out of 2000 samples tested from Cordelia cruise ship, 66 passengers tested positive for #COVID19 Respective collectors & MPT staff have been informed. Govt will take appropriate measures to discuss disembarking of passengers.” The local authorities had initially made it clear that no one would be allowed to disembark from the vessel until the testing process is completed. The testing of the passengers was necessitated after one crew member was found infected with the coronavirus on Sunday, an official said. READ MORE

Jan 03, 2022 17:10 IST

Govt Suspends Biometric Attendance for Govt Officials Due to Covid Surge

Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that due to rise in Covid cases, the Biometric Attendance for government officials and employees is being suspended with immediate effect, till further orders.

Jan 03, 2022 17:05 IST

Kerala Reports 29 New Omicron Cases

Kerala on Monday reported 29 new cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19, taking the total number of infections in the State to 181, State Health Minister Veena George said. The Minister said 42 people affected with the new variant have recuperated and were discharged from the hospitals today. “Among those found infected today, 25 came from low-risk countries, two from high-risk countries and two in Alappuzha district contracted the disease from their contacts,” the Minister said in a press release. The Omicron variant was confirmed in 10 people in Thiruvananthapuram, seven in Alappuzha and six each in Thrissur and Malappuram, the release said.

Jan 03, 2022 16:51 IST

Delhi Reports 4,099 Fresh Cases, Positivity Rate at 6.46%

Delhi reports 4,099 fresh cases, one death in the last 24 hours; Active caseload at 10,986, Positivity rate at 6.46%.

Delhi Reports 4,099 Fresh Cases, Positivity Rate at 6.46%

Jan 03, 2022 16:48 IST

On Rising Cases, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Hopeful of Covid Turning Endemic

Lesser hospitalisation, lesser occupation of ICU beds is a huge relief, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson Biocon told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Monday as India is witnessing an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 infections. Talking about the new variant-Omicron spread, Shaw added that the Omicron variant is surging fast but it also descends quickly, and lesser hospitalisation, lesser occupation of ICU beds are a huge relief. “We need to brace ourselves for many variants, Omicron is not the last, we believe hospitals are more prepared this time and we are veering towards an Endemic situation. Delta also should not be a huge worry, we know how to deal with it now ”, Shaw said.

daily caseload was 566.

India will start administering its indigenous Covid vaccine Covaxin to the 15 to 18 age group from Monday, with inoculation drive for teenagers commencing on Saturday with registration beginning for them on the CoWIN App.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday tweeted: “On the occasion of New Year, registration is being started on CoWIN portal for immunisation of children against COVID-19 in the age group of 15 to 18 years from today. I request the family members to register the eligible children for vaccination”.

The national capital has also geared up with the vaccination centres ready to administer the jabs for the younger population.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said that there was no need to set up separate vaccination centres for the teenagers as the city has already completed the administration of the first dose to all eligible and the same centres will be used for children too as people due for the second dose come only when it is scheduled.

Talking to IANS, senior paediatrician and Delhi Medical Council President, Dr Arun Gupta, said: “Covaxin is absolutely safe for teens as enough trials have been done. It is high time that we should shun anxiety, and come forward to participate in the vaccination.”

However, he added that while the decision was much awaited, the age group of 15 to 18 is too narrow and the government must consider the vaccination for school-going children too.

“The below 10 age group also should be included in the vaccination drive to keep them safe from pandemic,” he added.

Cases of the virus nearly tripled in the week ending Sunday compared to the previous seven days, representing an unprecedented 181 percent increase during the period, a report by Times of India states.

During the week (December 27-January 2), India recorded nearly 1.3 lakh new cases, a 12-week high, compared to the previous week’s tally of 46,073, which was, ironically, the lowest since the middle of May 2020.

This was by far the most significant weekly increase in infections since the country’s pandemic began. The previous highest increase was 71%, recorded during the second wave from April 5-11, 2021.

A Hindustan Times report also stated similar findings, that in the week ending January 2, there were 18,290 new Covid-19 infections reported every day on average across India, the highest the seven-day average has reached since October 12. While this is the worst case rate in the last two and a half months in absolute terms, the numbers become more concerning when we consider the rate at which it is increasing, the report said. The national seven-day average of daily cases was 6,641 the week before last (the seven days preceding December 25). It means that the rate of new infections has increased by 175 percent in just one week. This is the country’s largest weekly growth rate since April 9, 2020, surpassing even the peak growth rate seen during the second wave, when the figure peaked at 75%, it said.

Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.