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Govt Revises Protocol for Fliers from ‘At Risk’ Countries; Post-Arrival Covid Test Must from Dec 1

Centre's revised travel guidelines will come into effect from December 1. | November 28, 2021, 22:33 IST

Amid concerns over the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, the central government on Sunday revised travel guidelines for international fliers, which will come into effect from December 1. Covid testing upon arrival and furnishing a 14-day travel history are part of the new norms for fliers from ‘at-risk’ nations. Karnataka has decided to implement a slew of stringent precautionary measures amid the rise in Covid-19, cases, and the threat posed by Read More

Nov 28, 2021 21:31 IST

Haryana Reports 22 Fresh Covid-19 Cases

Haryana reported 22 COVID-19 cases and zero daily deaths due to the disease on Sunday, according to data issued by the state’s health department. The state’s coronavirus infection tally has risen to 7,71,676, while its death toll stands at 10,054, it showed. Of the new cases, Gurugram reported 13, Faridabad eight and Hisar one, as per the bulletin.

Nov 28, 2021 20:32 IST

Morocco Halts All Incoming Air Travel from Around the World

Morocco is suspending all incoming air travel from around the world starting Monday for two weeks because of the rapid spread of the new omicron variant of the virus, the Foreign Ministry announced Sunday. The ministry tweeted that the decision was taken to preserve the achievements realised by Morocco in the fight against the pandemic, and to protect the health of citizens. Morocco has been in the forefront of vaccinations in Africa, and kept its borders closed for months in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Nov 28, 2021 20:31 IST

Follow Covid-appropriate Behaviour to Avoid Lockdown: Maha CM

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that in order to avoid another coronavirus-induced lockdown in the state, people must follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, and asked the authorities to take necessary steps to protect citizens from the new Omicron variant of the virus without waiting for the Centre’s directives. He was speaking during a virtual meeting with divisional commissioners and district collectors held to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the state and the precautionary measures that need to be taken in view of the Omicron variant detected in South Africa.

Nov 28, 2021 20:13 IST

Only Permanent Residents Can Enter Israel, Says Envoy

Indians can leave Israel as long as flights are available. Only permanent residents can enter Israel. So Indians who have been working, living, studying in Israel already can come in, no problem with that, Ambassador of Israel to India Naor Gilon said.

Only Permanent Residents Can Enter Israel, Says Envoy

Nov 28, 2021 20:01 IST

Kuwait Bans Flights from 9 African Countries Over New Variant

Kuwait decided on Saturday to suspend direct flights with nine African countries over the new Covid-19 variant Omicron. Kuwait will suspend direct commercial flights with South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zambia, and Malawi, except for cargo planes, Kuwait’s Center for Government Communication said. Kuwaiti citizens coming from those countries will be in quarantine for seven days starting from November 28, and they will be required to do a PCR test on arrival and another on the sixth day of arrival, Xinhua news agency reported.

Nov 28, 2021 19:37 IST

Regularly Monitoring Covid-19 Situation in Haryana, Says CM Khattar

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said he has been regularly monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the state and there has been no significant jump in cases. He also said authorities are alert in the wake of the new Covid-19 variant ‘Omicron’ reported in some countries. Asked if any advisory has been issued following the detection of Omicron, Khattar said the state’s ‘Mahamari Alert-Surakshit Haryana’ is already in place, under which relaxations are either given or curtailed from time to time depending on the prevailing COVID-19 situation.

Nov 28, 2021 19:11 IST

Vaccines May Partially Work Against New Covid Variant: Ex-ICMR Scientist

Amid growing concerns over Omicron, former Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientist Dr Raman Gangakhedkar told News18 that vaccines may provide only partial protection against the new ‘heavily mutated’ variant of SARS-CoV-2. The epidemiologist, who was the face of the country’s apex medical research agency during government briefings on Covid-19 last year, said the surveillance of the new variant, which was detected in Botswana in southern Africa, will not be difficult if the government re-up its ante in testing, tracing, tracking and isolation.

Nov 28, 2021 19:10 IST

Kerala Reported 4,350 Fresh Cases, 19 Deaths

Nov 28, 2021 19:06 IST

Israel Closes Borders to Foreigners over Omicron

Israel is to close its borders to all foreigners later Sunday in a bid to stem the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, authorities said. “The entry of foreign nationals into Israel is banned except for cases approved by a special committee,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement, adding that the measure would take effect on Sunday evening.

Nov 28, 2021 19:05 IST

Suspected Omicron Cases Mild: Leading South African Doctor

A South African doctor who raised the alarm over Omicron said Sunday dozens of her patients suspected of having the new variant had only shown mild symptoms and recovered fully without hospitalisation. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, told AFP she had seen around 30 patients over the past 10 days who tested positive for Covid-19 but had unfamiliar symptoms. “What brought them to the surgery was this extreme tiredness,” she said, speaking from Pretoria, where she practices.

Nov 28, 2021 18:31 IST

13 Cases of Omicron Variant in Dutch Testing of Travellers

The Dutch public health authority confirmed Sunday that 13 people who arrived in the Netherlands on flights from South Africa on Friday have so far tested positive for the new omicron coronavirus variant. The 61 people who tested positive for the virus on Friday after arriving on the last two flights to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport before a flight ban was put in place were immediately put into isolation while sequencing was carried out to establish if they had the new variant. The public health institute said in a statement that testing was continuing on the samples. Most of the 61 people who tested positive were put into isolation at a hotel near the airport, while a small number were allowed to sit out their quarantine at home under strict conditions.

Nov 28, 2021 18:20 IST

62 Inmates of Thane Old Age Home Test Coronavirus Positive

Sixty two inmates of an old age home in Maharashtra’s Thane district have tested positive for the coronavirus infection and all of them have been admitted to a civil hospital here, a senior health official said on Sunday. Following complaints of ill-health by a couple of inmates, a team of doctors on Saturday tested 109 inmates of the ‘Matoshree’ old age home located at Khadavali in Bhiwandi taluka, district health officer Dr Manish Renge said.

Nov 28, 2021 18:02 IST

Govt to Review Decision on Restarting Int'l Flights, SOP on Testing

The centre decided to review the decision on resuming scheduled commercial international passenger services as well SOP on testing and surveillance of incoming passengers, especially from countries identified as ‘at risk. The decisions were taken at an urgent meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and attended by various stakeholders, an official spokesperson said.

Nov 28, 2021 17:51 IST

Australia Finds Omicron, Israel Bans Foreign Travellers

Australia on Sunday became the latest country to detect the omicron variant of the coronavirus in travelers who arrived from southern Africa, while Israel decided to bar entry to foreign nationals the toughest of a growing raft of curbs imposed by nations around the world as they scramble to slow its spread.

Nov 28, 2021 17:50 IST

Face Masks Compulsory in England Shops, Transport from Tuesday

Face coverings will become a compulsory requirement in shops and public transport in England from Tuesday, the UK government said on Sunday as part of the tighter COVID-19 curbs being enforced in response to two cases of the new Omicron variant detected in the country. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the requirement of compulsory PCR tests to be taken by all overseas arrivals into the UK will also be enforced as soon as possible. The minister asserted that he expects all the new measures, being introduced to give scientists more time to analyse the infectiousness and vaccine-resistance levels of Omicron, to be lifted again “within weeks”.

Nov 28, 2021 17:00 IST

Israel to Host Miss Universe Contest Despite Omicron

Israel will host the Miss Universe beauty pageant in the Red Sea resort of Eilat on Dec. 12 despite imposing travel restrictions to try to stave off the Omicron coronavirus variant, Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said on Sunday. On Saturday Israel announced that it was banning foreigners from entering the country, but Razvozov on Sunday told reporters that participants in the Miss Universe pageant would be granted waivers while possibly undergoing PCR testing every 48 hours and other precautionary measures.

Nov 28, 2021 16:42 IST

Study Warns China of Colossal Outbreak' of Covid-19 if it Opens Up

China is expected to continue its much-criticised Zero COVID policy, shutting the country to most of the world as a new study has warned of a colossal outbreak with over 6.30 lakh patients per day if it opens up. According to a report by the Peking University mathematicians, China could face more than 630,000 coronavirus infections a day if it dropped its zero-tolerance approach and followed other countries by lifting travel bans. The estimates revealed the real possibility of a colossal outbreak which would almost certainly put an unbearable burden on the medical system, the report said.

Nov 28, 2021 16:25 IST

Govt to Review SoP on Testing, Surveillance of Foreign Fliers

Following a high level review meet by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on new variant Omicron, an urgent meeting was chaired by Home Secretary today at 11.30am. The meeting was held with various experts, Dr. VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Dr Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and senior officers from Health, Civil Aviation and other Ministries. The government will review the Standard Operating Procedure on testing and surveillance of incoming international passengers, especially for those countries identified ‘at risk’ category.

Nov 28, 2021 15:40 IST

Returnees from Abroad to MP in Last One Month to Undergo Covid Test, Says CM

Amid concerns over the potentially more contagious new Omicron variant of coronavirus detected in some countries recently, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday said all the people who arrived in the state from international destinations in the past one month will have to go undergo COVID-19 test. The state government also withdrew the earlier announced relaxations for schools and decided that they will continue to hold online classes and run physical classes with 50 per cent strength of students only after consent from their parents.

Nov 28, 2021 15:36 IST

Omicron Reportedly Has 30+ Mutations in Spike Protein Region, May Bypass Vaccines: AIIMS Chief

The new Omicron variant of coronavirus has reportedly got over 30 mutations in the spike protein region giving it the potential to develop a immunoescape mechanism, and thus the efficacy of vaccines against it needs to be evaluated critically, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guelria has said. The presence of spike protein facilitates a virus’ entry into the host cell and is responsible for making it transmissible and causing infection. “The new variant of coronavirus reportedly has got more than 30 mutations at the spike protein region and therefore has the potential of developing immunoescape mechanisms. As most vaccines (work by) forming antibodies against the spike protein, so many mutations at the spike protein region may lead to a decreased efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines,” AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guelria said.

the emergence of the new variant of the virus — Omicron. A high-level meeting chaired on Saturday by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in this regard has decided to intensify screening of international passengers at the airports and make RT-PCR test report compulsory for those arriving from Kerala and Maharashtra.

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