COVID-19 Cases in India: The country's total Omicron tally has now crossed 200 cases.
India reported 7,495 fresh COVID-19 cases today, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. With this, the country's caseload reached 3,47,65,976. India's active caseload currently stands at 78,291, going up by 101 active cases today.
The country also reported 434 new Covid-related deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total death count to 4,78,759. The number of fatalities today is up from yesterday's spike of 318 deaths.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the active cases in the country account for less than one per cent of total cases, currently at 0.24 per cent which is the lowest since March last year.
The number of cases of Covid's fast-spreading strain Omicron has crossed the 200-mark in India, the Union Health Ministry said, with Omicron cases in India currently standing at 236.
Here are the Highlights on Coronavirus cases in India:
Traders' body asks market associations in Delhi to put up "no mask, no entry" boards
Amid a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Delhi, the Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) issued an advisory to the market associations in the city on Thursday to put up boards saying "no mask, no entry", according to a statement from the traders' body.
CTI chairman Brijesh Goyal and president Subhash Khandelwal said in the statement that all the traders will have to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.
"The associations should distribute circulars in their markets, always keep the staff and traders at the shops wearing masks, not allow anyone enter a commercial establishment without a mask, put up boards of 'no mask, no entry'," they said.
Mr Goyal also raised a question as regards who would manage the crowd at the markets.
Odisha Chief Minister distributes special COVID assistance of Rs 6,000 for every registered newspaper hawker in state
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday distributed a special COVID assistance of Rs 6,000 for every registered newspaper hawker in the state. The assistance has been provided by the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.
As per the Chief Minister's office, "Department of Information and Public Relations has prepared and registered digital databases of 7,300 hackers in the state, each registered hawker will receive the amount of Rs 6,000 directly to their bank accounts."
"The hawkers are the bridge between newspapers and readers, let it be summer, rain or winter and even during the COVID pandemic they forgot their grief and provided newspapers to the readers, Even in the digital age, the demand for newspapers has not declined, so their hard work should be acknowledged and appreciated," said Patnaik during the release of assistance.
Gujarat reports 7 more Omicron cases; Chief Minister holds review meeting
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting to review the present situation with regard to coronavirus, vaccination coverage and emergence of Omicron cases in the state, where seven more persons were found infected with the new strain.
The meeting was attended by Gujarat Health Minister Rishikesh Patel, Chief Secretary Pankaj Kumar and Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Raj Kumar, among other senior officials, said an official release.
During the meeting, the CM was informed that nearly 70,000 tests are being conducted every day for detection of the COVID-19 infection.
He was also informed that nearly 85 per cent of Gujarat's eligible population has been given both the doses of anti-COVID-19 vaccines till date, said the release, adding nearly 95 per cent of the adults have been given the first shot.
Delhi ready for up to 3 lakh tests, 1 lakh cases daily: Arvind Kejriwal amid Omicron scare
Anticipating a surge in Covid cases driven by the Omicron variant, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said his government has made preparations to handle one lakh patients and conduct three lakh tests daily and ensure availability of enough manpower, medicines and oxygen.
Mr Kejriwal stressed that the latest variant of coronavirus spreads rapidly and claimed that it causes "very mild" infection, fewer hospitalizations and deaths.
Therefore, the government has been focusing on strengthening its home-isolation module and directions have been issued to hire agencies for treating patients in their home, he said.
"We have made preparations keeping these things in mind. We have ramped up our capacity to be able to conduct three lakh tests daily. At present, 60,000 to 70,000 tests are being conducted in Delhi every day," Mr Kejriwal said at a press conference after a review meeting with senior officials.
Coronavirus: Madhya Pradesh logs 30 new cases, zero deaths
With 30 fresh cases, the COVID-19 tally in Madhya Pradesh rose to 7,93,581 on Thursday, while the recovery count increased to 7,82,859 after 19 patients were discharged from hospitals, a health department official said.
The deaths remained unchanged at 10,531 as no fatality was reported during the day, the official said. There are now 191 active coronavirus cases in the state, he said.
As many as 62,538 swab samples were examined during the day, pushing the number of coronavirus tests carried out in MP so far to 2,32,17,340, the official added.
A total of 10,06,56,990 anti-coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered so far to people in the state, including 4,65,687 on Thursday, he added.
Aurangabad: Primary teacher tests COVID-19 positive; school shut temporarily
The Aurangabad civic body in Maharashtra has shut one of the city-based schools for a few days after its teacher from the primary section tested positive for coronavirus, an official said on Thursday.
The teacher from the primary section of Saraswati Bhuwan School tested positive for the infection on December 21. Hence, as a precautionary measure, it was decided that the school shall remain shut till Monday (December 27), the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) official said.
"The teacher has mild symptoms and is home-quarantined. The RT-PCR test of those who came in his contact were conducted by the administration. As a precautionary measure we have shut the school till Monday," AMC's deputy commissioner Santosh Tengle told PTI.
Education officer Ramnath Thode said, "We have collected over 300 swabs from the school. The reports are awaited now."
Telangana logs 177 new COVID-19 cases, one death
Telangana on Thursday recorded 177 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 6,80,251, while the deaths rose to 4,018 with one more fatality.
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation accounted for the most number of fresh cases with 93, followed by Rangareddy District (16), a health department bulletin said, providing details as of 5.30 PM.
No Omicron case was reported today.
The number of recoveries outnumbered fresh cases with 190 people recuperating from the disease, taking the cumulative numbers to 6,72,637.
Active cases stood at 3,596, the bulletin said. Over 38,000 samples were tested today, taking the total number tested so far to 2.94 crore.
COVID-19: Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday recorded 132 fresh cases
Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday recorded 132 fresh cases of coronavirus, taking the infected number of persons to 3,40,293 while three new deaths due to the virus were reported from the union territory in the past 24 hours, officials said.
There are 1,319 active cases in the union territory, while the number of recovered patients was 3,34,456, the officials said.
Out of the fresh cases, 27 were from the Jammu division and 105 from the Kashmir division of the union territory, the officials said.
They said Srinagar district recorded the highest of 40 cases followed by 34 cases in Baramulla district.
The death toll in the union territory due to the pandemic was 4,518 as three fresh deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.
COVID-19: Centre propose fivefold strategy to states to tackle Omicron threat
Centre proposed a fivefold strategy for tackling the threat of COVID-19 variant 'Omicron', in a review meeting on Thursday over public health preparedness by States and Union Territories for fighting COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.
The fivefold strategy includes broad guidelines under the heading - Containment, Testing and Surveillance, Clinical management, COVID Safe Behaviour and Vaccination.
According to Health Ministry, states are advised to impose night curfews and ensure strict regulation of large gatherings, especially ahead of the forthcoming festivities. Promptly notify "Containment Zones", "Buffer Zones" in the case in new clusters of COVID positive cases. Ensure strict perimeter control of Containment Zone as per extant guidelines and send all cluster samples to INSACOG Labs for Genome Sequencing without delay.
"On the issue of Testing and Surveillance, States were asked to keep a close and strict watch on the number of Delta and Omicron cases in all districts. Keep a tab on case positivity numbers on a day-on-day and week-on-week basis, the doubling rate and new emerging clusters," reads the official statement.
Five more cases of Omicron reported in Kerala
Five more cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus were detected in Kerala on Thursday, taking the total number of infected to 29, state Health Minister Veena George said. As many as four people, who have reached Ernakulam, and a native of Kozhikode district have been detected with the virus.
Two persons, aged 28 and 24 who arrived from the United Kingdom, a 35-year-old person who came from Albania and another one from Nigeria were those found infected in Ernakulam, she said in a statement here.
The man, who was found infected in Kozhikode, was the one who came to the state from Bengaluru airport. "With this, the total Omicron cases in Kerala has become 29. Of the total infected, 17 have reached the state from high-risk countries and 10 from low-risk nations. Two persons have contracted the virus through contact," Ms George said.
We appeal to people with mild symptoms to stay at home, don't rush to the hospital. Under our home isolation module, our healthcare workers will visit patients at their residence, conduct tele-counselling and give a kit containing oximeter etcetera to them: Arvind Kejriwal
We have created a capacity to conduct 3 lakh tests daily: Delhi Chief Minister
12 new cases of Omicron confirmed in Karnataka: State Health Minister
Coronavirus News Update: On Omicron, AstraZeneca Says Booster Shot Effective, Cites Oxford Lab Study
A three-dose course of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the Omicron coronavirus variant, the pharmaceutical company said on Thursday, citing data from an Oxford University lab study.
The study, yet to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, showed antibody levels against Omicron after the booster shot were higher than antibodies in people who had been infected with and recovered naturally from COVID-19.
With Omicron, Experts Warn Against Cloth Masks
Omicron is once again making people think twice before reaching out for their reusable cloth face masks. Double or triple-layer masks made of a mix of materials can be more effective, but most cloth coverings are just "fashion accessories," said Trish Greenhalgh, professor of primary health care services at the University of Oxford.
As the highly infectious omicron causes Covid infections to surge worldwide, governments around the world are tightening restrictions to try and stop its spread. Earlier this month Britain reintroduced compulsory mask wearing on public transport, shops and in some indoor venues, having previously relaxed the rules in the summer. Throughout the pandemic, authorities in different places have said different things about when and where healthy people should wear face masks and what type of coverings they should choose.
Coronavirus News Updates: No Country Can Boost Its Way Out Of Pandemic, Says WHO Chief
The World Health Organization chief warned Wednesday that the rush in wealthy countries to roll out additional Covid vaccine doses was deepening the inequity in access to jabs that is prolonging the pandemic.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted that the priority must remain to get vaccines to vulnerable people everywhere rather than giving additional doses to the already vaccinated.
"No country can boost its way out of the pandemic," he told reporters.
The UN health agency has long decried the glaring inequity in access to Covid vaccines. Allowing Covid to spread unabated in some places dramatically increases the chance of new, more dangerous variants emerging, it argues.
Coronavirus Live Updates: Telangana sees daily spike of 14 Omicron cases
Telangana Omicron cases rise by 14 in a single day, taking the total Omicron tally in the state to 38.
12 of those who tested positive for Omicron were passengers from non at-risk countries, while 2 were from at-risk countries.