Here are the top 10 updates on coronavirus in India:
The overall count of the highly infectious Omicron variant reached 9,287 today with 29 states reporting cases of the new strain. The active cases have risen to 19,24,051 - the highest in 234 days - and now comprise 5.03 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dipped to 93.69 per cent.
Five labs across the country - part of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium INSACOG, a network of 38 tasked with genome sequencing - have been shut down because of lack of funds for chemical reagents, top health ministry sources said today.
Sources also said the lack of reagents - a substance added to Covid samples to cause a chemical reaction - is becoming a problem as the government tries to identify cases of the more infectious Omicron strain so it can isolate and contain the virus.
The Union Health Ministry will decide on rolling out vaccination for children below 15 only after scientific evidence is gathered, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said today. "Covid vaccination for 12-year-olds is our next goal. These decisions will only be taken after scientific information and scientific decision. We are working on it also," Dr VK Paul, Member (Health) of Niti Aayog said.
Maharashtra, one of the worst-hit states by the pandemic, today defended its decision to not allow the unvaccinated on local trains before the Bombay High Court, citing the prohibitions to have been imposed in the "larger public interest, for their own benefit".
Schools in Maharashtra will reopen for all classes from Monday, the state's Education Minister said. All schools will have to ensure that Covid protocols are followed.
Delhi reported 13,785 new Covid cases and 35 deaths in the last 24 hours. According to the health bulletin of the Delhi government, the active number of COVID patients in the city reached 75,282. Out of these, 58,501 patients are in home isolation and 2,624 are admitted to hospitals.
The daily positivity rate now stands at 16.41 per cent while the weekly positivity rate at 16.06 per cent. The cumulative doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide vaccination drive has exceeded 159.67 crore, the ministry said. 491 people have died of Covid in the past 24 hour. Over 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities, the Health Ministry stressed.
About 70% of the eligible population has received two primary vaccine doses and a booster campaign for health workers and at-risk population is underway. But reports from some states suggest that those unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated make up more than 90% of intensive care patients.
The virus has killed at least 5,480,481 people globally since the outbreak in China in December 2019, news agency AFP reported.