India reported 2,64,202 fresh COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said today. The new cases mark a 6.7 per cent jump from the 2.47 lakh daily cases reported yesterday. A total of 5,753 Omicron cases are amongst all Covid cases reported so far.
The daily positivity rate was recorded at 14.78 per cent — up from 13.11% yesterday — while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 11.83 per cent.
The country also reported 315 new deaths, taking the total fatalities in India to 485,350, while active cases rose to 12,72,073.
The active cases comprise 3.48 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate decreased to 95.2 per cent, the ministry said.
Here are today’s biggest Covid-related developments: A recent UN report warned that Covid-related deaths could potentially increase in the near future, like they had during the deadly second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh issued fresh Covid guidelines on Friday, shutting down schools and hostels until the end of the month, and banning large gatherings. In other news, the Calcutta High Court directed the West Bengal Election Commission to consider postponing the upcoming civil body polls for 4-6 weeks due to rising Covid cases. The EC has been given 48 hours to clear its stand.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Central and state governments to continue with the pre-emptive, pro-active and collective approach followed so far in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Chairing a virtual meeting with the chief ministers to review the situation, fueled by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, PM Modi called for focusing on local containment and emphasised on the need to safeguard the economy and livelihood of common people while framing Covid strategies. Modi also stated that the initial skepticism about the Omicron variant was slowly getting cleared as it has shown to have infected the general population several times faster than the previous ones.
Delhi reported 28,867 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, state Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Friday, adding that the National Capital is expected to record less than 25,000 today.
“75 per cent of the Covid patients who died in the recent past were unvaccinated. More than 13000 beds (88%) are available,” he said.
Unlike Mumbai, the daily count of coronavirus infections in Pune continues to rise, with 9,645 new cases being detected on Thursday. According to the latest data by the health department of the Pune Zila Parishad, three deaths were also reported from the district, two from Pune Municipal Corporation areas and one from Cantonment.
Pune district is still some distance away from its second wave peak. Last year, its daily case count had gone up as high as 12,825. Several other major cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata have already crossed their second wave peaks.
The current active case load in the district is nearly one third of the peak of the second wave. As on Thursday, over 44,000 people were infected in the district, of which more than 42,000 are in home isolation and less than 2,000 in hospitals. During the second wave, the active cases count had reached 1.25 lakh.
Coronavirus is going to stay with us and it is likely that Omicron and Delta may co circulate, said Dr T Jacob John, former director of ICMR’s Centre of Advanced Research in Virology, retired professor and head of the Department of Clinical Virology and Microbiology at CMC Vellore, on Thursday.
He also stressed on vaccinating children quickly to minimise virus transmission and risk of emergence of new variants by mutations. “I am an advocate of child vaccinations with vaccines which are safe and effective. If children are left unvaccinated, they will act as virus reservoirs and we know that Omicron affects children readily. They must be vaccinated more quickly,” he said.
More about Omicron
The Omicron variant has been called a variant of concern by WHO based on studies that shows it has several mutations. Still a lot of research is underway to evaluate its transmissibility, severity and reinfection risk. The Omicron variant has been detected in several regions of the world. WHO reports that the likelihood of the Omicron variant spreading further globally is high. It is not currently known if the Omicron variant is more or less severe than other strains of COVID-19, including Delta. Studies are ongoing and this information will be updated as it becomes available. It is not yet clear whether Omicron can spread more easily from person to person compared to other variants, such as Delta. However, being vaccinated and taking precautions such as avoiding crowded spaces, keeping your distance from others and wearing a mask are critical in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we know these actions have been effective against other variants. Researchers are looking into any potential impact the Omicron variant has on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Although information is still limited, WHO believes it is a reasonable assumption that the currently available vaccines offer some protection against severe disease and death. It is also important to be vaccinated to protect against the other widely circulating variants, such as the Delta one. When it’s your turn, make sure to get vaccinated. If your vaccination involves two doses, it’s important to receive both in order to have the maximum protection. According to WHO, early evidence suggests that people who have previously had COVID-19 could be reinfected more easily with Omicron, in comparison to other variants of concern. Information is still limited though and we will share updates as it becomes available. Source: UNICEF
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