India on Sunday reported 27,553 new Covid-19 cases, 21% higher than the previous day’s count.
Coronavirus in India: Live updates
Meanwhile, the country’s Omicron tally has crossed 1,500 with the fast-spreading variant reaching 23 states, the government said. Maharashtra is the worst-affected state, followed by Delhi.
Here are the top developments of the day
Cases continue to soar in Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal
- Fresh Covid cases rise 11 times in a week in Bengal
The daily coronavirus infections in West Bengal have shot up over 11 times in a week in West Bengal, while in the case of Kolkata, the increase is more than 14 times during the period, according to the state government data. The state on Sunday recorded 6,153 infections with Kolkata accounting for 3,194 of them, a health department bulletin said. On December 26, the respective figures were 544 and 219.
- Delhi witnesses highest single-day spike since May 2021
With 3,194 new Covid-19 cases recorded in the last 24 hours, Delhi on Sunday witnessed its highest single-day spike since May 20, 2021. As per a bulletin issued by the state health department on Sunday, the positivity rate in the national capital has gone up to 4.59 per cent. The positivity rate is highest since May 20, 2021.
- Maharashtra sees 50 more Omicron infections
Maharashtra reported 11,877 fresh Covid-19 cases, 2,707 more than the day before, and 50 Omicron infections, the state health department said in a bulletin. The state also reported nine deaths. Meanwhile, Mumbai recorded a steep rise in the daily coronavirus cases with 8,063 infections on Sunday, 1,763 more than Saturday’s tally, taking the caseload in the metropolis to 7,99,520, the city civic body said in a bulletin.
- Post festive season, Goa’s positivity rate touches 10.7%
The sizable number of tourists that descended on Goa for the Christmas-New Year festival season may be behind the Covid-19 positivity rate crossing 10 per cent, officials said. They said 388 cases were detected on Sunday from 3,604 tests, a positivity rate (cases per 100 test) of 10.7 per cent. The addition during the day took the tally in the coastal state to 1,81,570, while one death increased the toll to 3,523, an official said.
- Haryana reports 577 fresh cases, 358 of them from Gurugram alone
Haryana reported no Covid-related death on Sunday, even though it added 577 new cases, with 358 of them from Gurugram, according to official figures. With these fresh cases, the state’s tally increased to 7,74,917. The death toll remained at 10,064, the health department’s daily bulletin stated. Among other districts, Faridabad and Panchkula reported 83 and 32 cases, respectively.
- Tamil Nadu reports 1,594 new cases, 6 deaths in last 24 hours
Tamil Nadu reported 1,594 new Covid-19 cases during the last 24 hours, said the state government. Six people lost their lives to the deadly virus during the last 24 hours. The death toll from Covid-19 in the state currently stands at 36,790.
Stricter curbs, night curfew imposed in West Bengal
In wake of the sudden spike in Covid cases, West Bengal announced certain restrictions on the movement of people and public transport from Monday onwards.
Addressing a press conference, chief secretary HK Dwivedi said, “All academic activities in schools, colleges and universities shall remain closed. Only administrative activities shall be permitted with 50 per cent of employees at a time.” This will continue till January 15.
He said local trains shall operate with 50 per cent seating capacity up to 7 pm, metro services will 50 per cent seating capacity as per usual operational time, while movement of people and vehicles and public gatherings of any kind shall be prohibited between 10 pm to 5 am and only essential and emergency services shall be permitted.
Flights from Mumbai and Delhi will now only operate on Mondays and Fridays while all direct flights from UK will be banned.
Chandigarh imposes new curbs
In view of surge in Covid-19 cases, fresh restrictions have also been imposed in Chandigarh. All hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, eating places, marriage palaces and banquet halls will now be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity. Additionally, only fully vaccinated people will be allowed entry.
Covid cases rising but most have mild symptoms; hospitalisation low: Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said though the capital is witnessing a sharp spike in the number of daily cases and active cases of coronavirus, there is no need to panic as most patients are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms and do not need hospitalisation.
He presented data to show that despite an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, oxygen bed occupancy is less than one per cent in hospitals and is very low as compared to the deadly second wave of coronavirus in April last year.
Active Covid-19 cases rose from about 2,000 on December 29, 2021 to 6,000 on January 1, but the number of patients in hospitals dipped during this period. On December 29, 2021 as many as 262 beds were occupied, while on January 1 it was only 247, he said.
Mandaviya reviews public health preparedness to Covid-19
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya interacted with state health ministers, principal secretaries, additional chief secretaries of states/UTs and reviewed the public health preparedness to Covid-19 and national Covid-19 vaccination, informed the ministry of health and family welfare.
According to the ministry, the meeting was held in view of the rising cases of the Omicron variant and the recent decisions to roll out vaccination for the age group 15-18 years and precautionary dose for identified vulnerable categories.
The Omicron variant being highly transmissible, a high surge in the case can overwhelm the medical system. He, therefore, advised the States to leave no stone unturned in ramping up infrastructure to manage a high surge so that India escapes unscathed from this episode of Covid-19.
Vaccination of children aged 15-18 years set to begin tomorrow
Preparations are in full swing in various states for Covid-19 vaccination of children falling in the age group of 15-18 years, which is scheduled to commence from January 3. For such beneficiaries.
The registrations for vaccinating 15-18-year-old children against Covid-19 started on January 1 and over 7.6 lakh beneficiaries have registered themselves on the CoWIN portal to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, as on Sunday evening.
The vaccine option for those in the 15-18 age group would only be Covaxin, according to the “Guidelines for Covid-19 vaccination of children between 15-18 years and precaution dose to HCWs, FLWs and 60+ population with comorbidities” issued by the Union health ministry.
With rise in Omicron cases, SC to conduct hearings virtually for next 2 weeks
The Supreme Court on Sunday decided to conduct all hearings in virtual mode for two weeks starting from January 3, in view of rising number of cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The Supreme Court administration issued a circular announcing the decision on Sunday evening.
It stated that an earlier circular prescribing standard operating procedure (SOP) for physical hearing (hybrid hearing) will remain suspended for the time being.
The top court is reopening on Monday after its winter vacation.
85 school children test Covid-19 positive in Uttarakhand’s Nainital
As many as 85 students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Nainital’s Gangarkote tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday.
Deputy collector Rahul Sah said, “Initially, 11 students tested positive along the school staff was found Covid-19 infected. Following that Uttarakhand Health Department set up a testing camp and took 496 samples in which 85 children were found to be Covid-19 positive.”
“After the coronavirus cases came to light, the school was transformed into a micro-containment zone on the instructions of the Deputy Collector, Rahul Sah”, said an official.
(With inputs from agencies)