Here's your 10-Point cheatsheet in this big story:
The Health Department of Gujarat -- where two cases were reported -- confirmed to NDTV that the patients infected with BF.7 and BF.12 form of Omicron were reported in October-November. They were treated in home isolation and have fully recovered now. The first case had surfaced in July, sources said.
The Centre has asked states to send samples of all Covid-positive cases to INSACOG genome sequencing labs. INSACOG is a forum under the Health Ministry to study and monitor various strains of Covid in India, which is mapped with all states and Union Territories.
Random sampling of international passengers for Covid 19 started at airports across the country from today. The Centre said while there is no cause for panic, people should mask up in crowded areas and that it will monitor the situation every week.
There is no Covid-19 protocol operating for public gatherings or tourist destinations at the moment. Masks are not mandatory in any state after the Centre's advisory in June. The advisory had asked that Covid-appropriate behaviour be followed, but states were told to take a call on mask usage.
Masks are not mandatory at airports either, but social distancing was advised in the advisory sent in November.
"Covid is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation," said Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya after a meeting with experts and top officials..
VK Paul, a member of NITI Aayog who heads the national task force on Covid, has said there is no need to panic, and that adequate tests are being conducted. There is no change in the guidelines for international air travel yet, he said.
The country has reported 129 fresh infections over the last 24 hours and the number of active cases currently stands at 3,408. One death was recorded over the last 24 hours -- taking the total to 5,30,677.
China has been struggling to contain a rampant Covid surge after it withdrew mandatory safety protocols including lockdown and mass testing under its zero-Covid policy. Hospitals are desperately trying to cope with the patient overload and pharmacies are running out of medicine, reports said.
Local authorities in Beijing logged five deaths from Covid on Tuesday -- up from Monday's two. Health officials said only those who died of respiratory failure caused by the virus would be counted under Covid death statistics.
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