Coronavirus Variants and Vaccinations, Coronavirus Active Cases in India News, November 30 highlights: Panic around the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is continuing to mount as the WHO warned that the variant poses a very high global risk on the basis of early studies. The global health agency has also warned that the variant could lead to surges in cases having severe consequences. As scientists and health authorities are racing to gather more information, more and more countries have started restricting international travel for countries having this variant, including South Africa and Bostwana. Meanwhile, the South African government has protested against the rapid closure of international borders for travellers from the country.
On the Indian side of things, the Union Health Ministry has updated international travel guidelines in light of multiple countries reporting cases due to Omicron. The Centre has said that all travellers coming from countries categorised as ‘at risk’ would have to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport regardless of their vaccination status. This test would be conducted in addition to India’s requirement of an RT-PCR test within 72 hours before travelling. These guidelines are set to come into effect from December 21. Apart from this, airports would also need to conduct random COVID-19 tests on 5% of the travellers coming from countries that have not been classified as ‘at risk’.
Meanwhile, India added 6,990 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, the lowest in 551 days, taking its overall tally of Covid-19 cases to 3,45,87,822, while the number of active cases declined to 1,00,543, the lowest in 546 days, according to data from the Union health ministry data on Tuesday. With 190 fresh fatalities, the Covid-19 death toll surged to 4,68,980, the Health Ministry said. The single-day rise in new Covid-19 cases has been below 20,000 for the past 53 days and less than 50,000 for 155 consecutive days now. The active cases now account for 0.29% of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate has improved to 98.35%, the highest since March 2020, the health ministry said.
Financial Express Online brings you the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.
Gujarat on Tuesday reported 40 new coronavirus cases, taking the caseload in the state to 8,27,475, the health department said. While no death was reported during the day, only three fatalities due to the pandemic were reported in the state in November. With 27 patients getting discharged on Tuesday, the number of recovered cases rose to 8,17,108. The death toll of the pandemic remained unchanged at 10,092. There are 275 active cases in Gujarat including seven patients whose condition was said to be critical. As many as 5.38 lakh people were vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday, raising the tally of doses administered so far to 8.10 crore. District-wise, Ahmedabad reported the highest 10 new COVID-19 cases, followed by Vadodara with eight, Jamnagar seven, Surat four, Navsari three, Bhavnagar and Kutch two each and Anand, Gandhinagar, Gir Somnath and Valsad one case each. There is one active case in the adjoining Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, which has so far reported 10,655 cases, 10,650 recoveries and four deaths. Gujarat’s COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 8,27,475, new cases 40, death toll 10,092, discharged 8,17,108 active cases 275, people tested so far – figures not released. (PTI)
Telangana on Tuesday reported 196 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the tally to 6,75,994, while the death toll rose to 3,992 with two more fatalities. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 78, followed by Medchal Malkajgiri (20) and Ranga Reddy (15) districts, a state government bulletin said, providing details as of 5.30 PM on Tuesday. It said 184 people recovered from the infectious disease on Tuesday. The cumulative number of recoveries till date was 6,68,411. The number of active cases was 3,591, the bulletin said. It said 38,615 samples were tested on Tuesday and the total number of samples tested till date was 2,85,82,926. The samples tested per million population was 7,67,945. The case fatality rate in the state was 0.59 per cent. The recovery rate in Telangana was 98.87 per cent. Meanwhile, state Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao said the state government is strengthening the mechanism at the international airport here as part of measures to deal with the threat of new COVID-19 ‘Omicron’ variant. He said RT-PCR tests would be conducted for passengers arriving from the 12 countries which have been declared “at risk” by the Centre from Tuesday midnight. Those who test positive would be shifted to the government institutional isolation centre at the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) in the city, he said. Those testing negative would be allowed home quarantine. On Monday, 41 passengers arrived from the “at risk” 12 countries and none of them tested positive in RT-PCR tests, he said. He stressed on the importance of COVID-appropriate behaviour and vaccination in the fight against the virus. (PTI)
All international passengers coming here – whether at Goa Airport or Mormugao Port – will have to follow protocols strictly. They will have to strictly undergo COVID tests. People coming from 12 ‘at-risk countries’ will have to follow 14-day quarantine strictly: Goa CM #Omicron pic.twitter.com/EqpBFSKKvm
Amid concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday said his government is fully prepared to tackle any situation and has arranged 30,000 oxygen beds already and ramped up oxygen production and storage facilities. The chief minister chaired a high-level meeting with the authorities concerned to review the city’s readiness to fight the pandemic. At the meeting, he shared the city’s vaccination figures, saying 97 per cent of Delhiites have received their first dose, and 57 per cent are fully vaccinated. “These are good numbers,” he said, urging people to get their second dose soon. “Delhi is prepared to deal with any possible threat of another wave.” The review meeting mainly focused on the current situation of Covid, testing and prevention measures, upgradation and increasing Covid beds, training of people for Covid management, procurement of medicines, home isolation the 1031 helpline, oxygen supply, and vaccination numbers. “As far as beds are concerned, the bed capacity in hospitals had been increased to 25,106 during the second wave of Corona in May this year,” he said, “We have now arranged 30,000 oxygen beds already, out of which around 10,000 are ICU beds. Additionally, 6,800 ICU beds are currently under construction, and will be ready by February next year which will bring the capacity of ICU beds to around 17,000 soon,” he told an online media briefing. The chief minister said the preparations have been planned in a way that the government will be able to arrange 100 oxygen beds in every municipal ward on a two-week notice. “Hence, for the 270 wards, 27,000 oxygen beds can further be arranged on a short notice,” he said, adding that it takes the total number of beds to 63,800.
Kejriwal said there are 32 kinds of medicines which are required to treat Covid patients and a two-month buffer stock of these medicines is being ordered by his government to avoid any scarcity. “Home-isolation arrangements are also being actively made so that in the off chance that a third wave of coronavirus does hit, or that the Omicron variant spreads in India, we are well prepared to protect ourselves from it,” he added. Recalling the oxygen crisis during the second wave, he said the supply and shortage of the life-saving gas was a major issue then which his government has tried to address. It is estimated that all the hospitals in Delhi have a combined oxygen capacity of 750 MT, he said. To deal with storage and distribution problem of oxygen, the government has constructed extra storage facilities of 442 MT, he said. “Delhi has also constructed PSA plants to produce oxygen within the state and not rely on supply from outside with 121 MT oxygen beginning to be produced within Delhi,” the chief minister said. “We have ensured that telemetry equipment is installed in each small or large oxygen storage facility. With the installation of such devices, data will be shared in real time on the dashboard in our war rooms and help us monitor oxygen levels in each tank. This will aid us to have a fully prepared oxygen supply chain and efficient management of the same,” he said. The government has imported 6,000 D-type empty cylinders from China to supply beds with oxygen which will enable the government to arrange oxygen beds in non-hospital areas easily, he said. “We currently have three private oxygen refilling plants which have a capacity of filling 1,500 cylinders a day. In addition to this, we have built two bottling plants as well with an approximate capacity of 1,400 cylinders as well. Hence, Delhi’s refilling capacity has increased to 2,900 cylinders per day,” he said. Another major issue Delhi faced last time was in the supply of oxygen being brought in from Panipat, he said, adding the government is now buying 15 oxygen tankers, which will arrive within a month. In April and May, Delhi battled a brutal second wave of the pandemic that claimed a large number of lives and led to a shortage of oxygen and essential drugs at hospitals. On April 20, Delhi had reported 28,395 cases, the highest in the city since the beginning of the pandemic last year. On April 22, the case positivity rate was 36.2 per cent, the highest so far. The highest number of 448 deaths was reported on May 3. (PTI)
Mumbai on Tuesday reported 187 cases of COVID-19, taking its tally to 7,62,881, while the death toll stood at 16,336 after two patients, both women above the age of 60 and with comorbidities, died during the day, a civic official said. The discharge of 192 people increased the recovery count to 7,41,961, which is 97 per cent of the tally, leaving the country’s financial capital with an active caseload of 2,052, he said. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation data showed 29,223 samples were examined in the past 24 hours, which took the overall number of tests in the city to 1,24,25,262. It also revealed the case doubling time was 2,782 days, and that the city had 18 sealed buildings. (PTI)
The national capital registered 34 coronavirus cases and zero related death in a day, while the positivity rate stood at 0.07 per cent, according to the data shared by the health department here on Tuesday. For the last three days, Delhi had been reporting a fatality due to the viral infection.The national capital has recorded seven deaths due to the infection in November so far. Four people had succumbed to the viral disease in October and five in September. With the new cases, the coronavirus infection tally in the city climbed to 14,40,934. Of this, over 14.15 lakh patients have recovered from the disease.The death toll stands at 25,098. According to the health bulletin, authorities conducted 46,800 tests, including 36,392 RT-PCR ones, the previous day.There are 287 active Covid cases in Delhi, up from 285 the previous day. A total of 125 people in Delhi are in home isolation, an increase from 122 a day ago, the bulletin said. The number of containment zones in the city stands at 106, up from 105 on Monday. Delhi reported 34 COVID-19 cases and a death on Monday, 32 cases and a death on Sunday, and 27 cases and a death on Saturday. In April and May, Delhi battled a brutal second wave of the pandemic that claimed a large number of lives and led to a shortage of oxygen and essential drugs at hospitals. On April 20, Delhi had reported 28,395 cases, the highest in the city since the beginning of the pandemic last year. On April 22, the case positivity rate was 36.2 per cent, the highest so far. The highest number of 448 deaths was reported on May 3. (PTI)
The vaccine effectiveness of Covishield against COVID-19 infection in fully vaccinated individuals was found to be 63 per cent between April and May when the second wave was at its peak in India, according to a new study. It was published in ‘The Lancet Infectious Diseases’ journal and it included a comparison between 2,379 cases of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and 1,981 controls. The vaccine’s effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection in fully vaccinated individuals was found to be 63 per cent. The Science and Technology Ministry shared the study in an official statement. “More importantly, the scientists also observed that the spike-specific T-cell responses were conserved against both the delta variant and wild-type SARS-CoV-2. Such cellular immune protection might compensate for waning humoral immunity against the virus variants and prevent moderate-to-severe disease and need for hospitalisation,” the study said. The ministry said this study provides comprehensive data on the real-world vaccine effectiveness and immunological response to vaccination which should help guide policy. A multi-institutional team of Indian researchers led by Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) evaluated the real-world vaccine effectiveness of Covishield during the SARS-CoV-2 infection surge between April and May, 2021, in India. They also assessed neutralising activity and cellular immune responses against the variants in healthy vaccinated persons to understand the mechanisms of protection. (PTI)
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has sanctioned ex gratia payment of Rs 50,000 to the dependents of COVID-19 victims and directed all deputy commissioners to set up a robust yet simple mechanism for its disbursement. Jammu and Kashmir has recorded 4,476 Covid-related deaths — 2,291 in Kashmir and 2,185 in Jammu — since the pandemic began last year. In an order issued by the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, Nazim Zia Khan, secretary to Lieutenant Governor, said the implementation of the scheme would commence immediately and it will cover all residents who died due to COVID-19. Sanction is accorded to the adoption of the scheme for granting claim to the next of kin of COVID-19 victims in pursuance of the guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in compliance with the Supreme Court order, Khan said. According to the order, the eligibility of a case under the scheme would be verified through the database created by the Health and Medical Education Department and duly certified by the designated medical authority. The district-level grievance committee will be responsible for verifying the authenticity of the COVID-19 death as per the central government guidelines, proposing necessary remedial measures, including amending the COVID-19 death certificate, and detailing appropriate administrative resources to verify facts in accordance with the guidelines issued for Covid-related deaths. (PTI)
The COVID-19 tally in Madhya Pradesh reached 7,93,170 with the addition of 20 cases on Tuesday, while the death toll remained unchanged at 10,528, an official said. The recovery count increased to 7,82,523 after 27 people were discharged from hospitals during the day, leaving the state with an active tally of 119, he said. With 53,224 samples being examined during the day, the number of tests in MP went up to 2,18,64,263, the official added. An official release said 8,64,58,102 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far in the state, including 3,25,430 on Tuesday. Coronavirus figures in MP are as follows: Total cases 7,93,170, new cases 20, death toll 10,528, recovered 7,82,523, active cases 119, number of tests so far 2,18,64,263. (PTI)
Underlining that the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 does not escape RT-PCR and RAT tests, the Centre on Tuesday advised states and UTs to ramp up testing and undertake effective surveillance of international passengers even as it asserted that no case of the new variant has been found as yet in the country. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level virtual meeting with states and UTs to review COVID-19 public health response measures and preparedness amid cases of Omicron variant of COVID19 being reported across various countries. Reiterating that the revised guidelines and international travel advisories of the Union Health Ministry have been shared with the states, Bhushan advised states not to let their guard down and keep a strict vigil on the international passengers coming to the country through various airports, ports and land border crossings and stressed on strict monitoring of hotspots, a health ministry statement said. Also, noting the critical role of vaccination as a powerful defence against COVID-19, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ vaccination campaign has been extended till 31st December with a focus on 100 percent first dose coverage and completing the backlog of second dose vaccination, the statement said. (PTI)
After a slow start, the United States has improved its surveillance system for tracking new coronavirus variants such as omicron, boosting its capacity by tens of thousands of samples per week since early this year. Viruses mutate constantly. To find and track new versions of the coronavirus, scientists analyse the genetic makeup of a portion of samples that test positive. They’re looking at the chemical letters of the virus’s genetic code to find new worrisome mutants, such as omicron, and to follow the spread of known variants, such as delta. It’s a global effort, but until recently the US was contributing very little. With uncoordinated and scattershot testing, the US was sequencing fewer than 1 per cent of positive specimens earlier this year. Now, it is running those tests on 5 per cent to 10 per cent of samples. “Genomic surveillance is strong,” said Kelly Wroblewski, director of infectious diseases at the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
Contributing to the effort are nearly 70 state and local public health labs, which are sequencing 15,000 to 20,000 specimens each week. Other labs, including those run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its contractors, bring the total to 40,000 to 80,000 weekly. Nine months ago, about 12,000 samples each week were being analysed in this way. “We’re in a much, much better place than a year ago or even six or nine months ago,” said Kenny Beckman of the University of Minnesota, who credited federal dollars distributed to public and private labs. He directs the university’s genomics laboratory, which now sequences about 1,000 samples a week from Minnesota, Arkansas and South Dakota. A year ago, the lab did no sequencing. Relying on USD 1.7 billion in President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief bill, the US has been setting up a national network to better track coronavirus mutations. Still, about two dozen countries are sequencing a larger proportion of positive samples than the US, said Dr. William Moss of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Omicron’s emergence could “stimulate the United States to do this better.” “I think we still have a long way to go,” Moss said. Adding to surveillance efforts, standard PCR tests that use nasal swabs sent to laboratories can detect a sign that someone probably has the omicron variant. If a PCR test is positive for only two of the three target genes — a so-called S-dropout test result — it’s a marker for omicron even before the extra step of genetic sequencing to prove it. (AP)
Singapore will enhance its COVID-19 testing protocols for all travellers as part of tighter measures to deal with the Omicron variant, health ministry said on Tuesday. Among the measures, travellers arriving in Singapore on the vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) from December 2 must take additional antigen rapid tests (ART) to reduce the importation of the new Omicron coronavirus variant and allow prompt detection and isolation of cases who might have it. These travellers must undergo supervised self-administered ARTs at a quick test centre on Days 3 and 7 of their arrival, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Tuesday. Currently, VTL travellers only need to take an on-arrival polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and self-isolate until they get a negative result. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday that Singapore will freeze new VTL openings amid “major uncertainty” brought by the Omicron variant, although he acknowledged that cases with the variant could “sporadically” slip into the country as authorities continue to learn about it. This includes whether the variant is more infectious or harmful than others, its incubation and infectious period, whether ART and other tests can detect it, and how well vaccines work against it, Ong said at a COVID-19 multi-ministerial task force press conference. “For domestic healthcare protocols, we can use the Thermo Fisher PCR to preliminary identify Omicron infections and differentiate the follow-up actions,” the Channel News Asia quoted Ong as saying. “But for border policies, there is no basis for us to do so. So, this is where we need to judge very carefully and be prepared to adjust our border measures along the way,” the minister said. (PTI)
Karnataka reports 291 new #COVID19 cases, 745 recoveries and 8 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Total cases 29,96,148
Total recoveries 29,51,492
Death toll 38,211
Active cases 6,416 pic.twitter.com/lUnlBbb8xh
Kerala on Tuesday recorded 4,723 fresh COVID-19 cases and 177 deaths, raising the caseload to 51,29,985 and the toll to 40,132, the state government said. With 5,370 more people recovering from the virus since Monday, total recoveries reached 50,57,368 and the active cases dropped to 43,663, an official release said. Of the 177 deaths, 19 were reported over the last few days and 158 were designated as COVID-19 deaths after receiving appeals based on the new guidelines of the Centre and the directions of the Supreme Court, the release said. As many as 59,524 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, it said. Among the 14 districts, Thiruvananthapuram recorded the highest with 755 fresh cases, followed by Kozhikode (718) and Ernakulam (592). Of the new cases, 26 were health workers, 12 from outside the state and 4,393 infected through contact, with the source of it not being clear in 292. There are currently 1,53,221 people under surveillance in various districts, of whom 1,48,515 are in home or institutional quarantine and 4,706 in hospitals, the release said. (PTI)
Tamil Nadu reports 720 new #COVID19 cases, 758 recoveries and 9 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Total cases 27,26,917
Total recoveries 26,82,192
Death toll 36,481
Active cases 8,244 pic.twitter.com/1XFBJoYbYx
Puducherry Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Tuesday said the administration has come up with an action plan to achieve cent per cent vaccination against coronavirus and also to prevent Omicron, the new variant of the virus, from affecting people in the union territory. Talking to reporters after visiting a vaccination booth here, the Lt Governor said she had held discussions with officials of the Department of Health and also representatives of private medical colleges earlier at her office. She said a detailed discussion was held on Omicron and added that she had asked the health officials to intensify their steps to rise to any exigency, although there was so far no report of the new variant being detected. Soundararajan said that three people who had come to Puducherry recently from South Africa were being monitored closely. She said that the government was considering a proposal to adopt certain restrictions to ensure that those visiting Puducherry were subject to checking for Covid-19. Door-to-door inspection to ascertain vaccination of residents would be taken up on December 4 and 5, she said. (PTI)
Jammu and Kashmir’s coronavirus caseload increased to 3,36,852 on Tuesday with 171 fresh infections, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,476, officials said. Of the fresh cases, 32 were from the Jammu division and 139 from the Kashmir division of the union territory, they said. Srinagar district recorded the highest number of fresh cases at 62, followed by 42 in Baramulla district. The number of active COVID-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir stands at 1,625. So far, 3,30,751 people have recovered from the viral disease, the officials said. There are 49 confirmed cases of mucormycosis (black fungus) in the union territory. No fresh case has been reported since last evening, they said. (PTI)
The Delhi international airport has made arrangements to accommodate at the airport up to 1,500 international passengers at a time, including those coming from from ‘at-risk’ countries, till results of their RT-PCR tests taken after arrival are declared, according to officials.
Each passenger who will undergo the RT-PCR test will be charged around Rs 1,700. The amount includes charges for the RT-PCR test, and food and water during their stay at the airport till the test results come, the airport officials said on Tuesday. International airports across the country have made preparations to implement the stricter COVID-19 guidelines, to be effective from midnight, for international passengers amid rising concerns of infections caused by the new COVID-19 variant Omicron. Under the guidelines, all passengers coming from ‘at-risk’ countries have to compulsorily undergo RT-PCR tests and five per cent of passengers arriving from other countries would also have to take the test on a random basis. The passengers will have to wait for the results before leaving the airport or taking a connecting flight.
The officials said that arrangements have been made at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in the national capital to implement the new guidelines and ensure necessary social distancing among passengers. The airport can accommodate 1,400-1,500 passengers at a time, including those coming from ‘at-risk’ countries, inside the airport. The passengers will have to spent at least six hours at the premises, including waiting for the RT-PCR test results, they added. Currently, at the IGIA, the country’s largest airport operated by the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), international operations are from Terminal 3 (T3). According to the officials, the testing facility at the airport can take 400-500 samples in one hour and one test result is expected in four hours or more time. The immigration process will be done for the passengers only after their test results come. If required, the facilities for the passengers can be scaled up, the officials said. (PTI)
People having blood group of A, B and those with Rh factor positive are “more susceptible to COVID-19 infection” compared to those having O or AB group and Rh negative, according to a new study conducted by doctors at a Delhi hospital. In a statement issued on Tuesday, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) said the research was conducted on a total of 2,586 Covid-positive patients, tested through real-time PCR (RT-PCR), who were admitted at the facility from April 8 to October 4 in 2020. The study by the Department of Research and Department of Blood Transfusion Medicine at the SGRH “has found that (those having) blood groups A, B and Rh+ are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection whereas (those with) O, AB and Rh- are at lower risk of COVID-19 infection”, the statement said. The researchers have also claimed that “there is no association between blood groups, and susceptibility to severity of disease as well as mortality”. Resus factor or Rh factor is a protein that may be present on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). The positive or negative sign next to the blood groups is known as the Rh factor. If the blood type is positive, then the blood cells have the Rh protein, and they lack the Rh protein, if negative. The study has been published in November 21 edition of ‘Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology’, the statement said. (PTI)
Delhi | We’re preparing for the diagnosis & gene sequencing of the new variant #Omicron on a large scale. Separate isolation & treatment wards & 40 beds with oxygen, BiPAP, SDU, & ICU have been prepared; we’re also training health care workers: Dr Suresh Kumar, MD-LNJP Hospital pic.twitter.com/bUtXTq9LK0
COVID-19 infections in the fully vaccinated are rare but more common and severe in people with weaker immune systems, according to a Pfizer-led study involving nearly 1.2 million people. The research, published in the Journal of Medical Economics, found that within a pool of 1,277,747 fully vaccinated people in the US only 0.08 per cent experienced a breakthrough infection between December 10, 2020 and July 8, 2021. However, although immunocompromised individuals represented just 18 per cent of those studied, they accounted for over 38 per cent of infections, nearly 60 per cent of all hospitalisations, and 100 per cent of deaths. The proportion of people with breakthrough infections was three times higher among immunocompromised individuals (0.18 per cent) than among the reference group of non-immunocompromised individuals (0.06 per cent). “The results supplement other real-world studies, and support the introduction of a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to increase protection among the immunocompromised individuals,” said Manuela Di Fusco, study lead author from the Pfizer Health Economics and Outcomes Research team. (PTI)
Pune Municipal Corporation has conducted RT-PCR tests of his family members & the driver who travelled with him from Mumbai to Pune and all of them have tested negative. The person who tested positive is around 60 years & is stable, asymptomatic and in home isolation for now. (ANI)
Maharashtra: A person, who had returned to Pune from Zambia on 25th Nov, has tested positive for COVID-19. He had returned from Zambia to Mumbai on 20th Nov and then travelled to Pune by taxi. His sample has been sent for genome sequencing and the report on the same is awaited. (ANI)
Andhra Pradesh reported 184 fresh cases of COVID-19, 134 recoveries and three deaths in 24 hours ending 9 am on Tuesday. A health department bulletin said that the state COVID-19 chart now showed 20,72,909 positives, 20,56,318 recoveries and 14,442 deaths so far.
The state now has 2,149 active cases, the bulletin said. Krishna district reported 34, Chittoor 30, Visakhapatnam 26, West Godavari 21, East Godavari 17, Guntur 15 and Srikakulam 10 fresh cases.
The remaining six districts added less than nine new cases each. Krishna, Chittoor and West Godavari districts reported one fresh fatality each in a day. (PTI)
British airline easyJet said on Tuesday that it is already seeing some impact on demand from the new omicron variant of the coronavirus in the days since it was first identified.
The airline, which also revealed another full-year loss in excess of 1 billion pounds (USD 1.34 billion), said it has seen signs that demand is softening but that it is “too soon to say” what impact the new variant will have on the industry.
It said there are signs that winter bookings have started to weaken and some travellers are delaying trips to early next year, with city destinations particularly affected.
Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said the impact so far is not on the level seen previously when restrictions were imposed, although he stressed it is “too soon to say” what the ultimate hit will be.
Because of the uncertainty about the new variant, countries are tightening up travel restrictions. (AP)
We have imported 6,000 oxygen cylinders from China, says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (PTI)
There are 32 types of medicines that are used during Corona (treatment). A buffer stock of 2 months is being ordered so that there is no shortage of medicines: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (ANI)
Besides this, 6800 ICU beds are under construction. They will be ready by February. So, we’ll have 17,000 beds soon. We’Ve made arrangements for preparing 100 oxygen beds each in every Municipal ward on a 2-week notice – so 27,000 oxygen beds can be prepared in short notice: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (ANI)
I held a meeting with the officials today. We hope Omicron doesn’t come to India, but we need to be prepared as responsible governments…As far as the beds are concerned, we have prepared 30,000 oxygen beds and around 10,000 of these are ICU beds: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (ANI)
India’s Bharat Biotech said on Tuesday it was studying if its Covaxin shot would work against variants of coronavirus such as Omicron, after the CEO of drugmaker Moderna warned that existing vaccines would be less effective. “Covaxin was developed against the original Wuhan variant,” a Bharat Biotech spokesperson told Reuters in a text message, referring to the Chinese city where the virus first emerged. “It has shown that it can work against other variants, including the Delta variant. We continue to research on new variants.” (Reuters)
Germany’s highest court on Tuesday rejected complaints against curfews and other restrictions imposed by federal legislation earlier this year in areas where the coronavirus was spreading quickly — a decision that could help the country’s leaders as they struggle to tackle a sharp rise in infections. The ruling from the Federal Constitutional Court came hours before outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her designated successor, Olaf Scholz, planned to hold talks on the situation with the country’s 16 state governors. There has been a string of calls from experts and politicians for tougher restrictions, but Germany’s federal structure and the transition from Merkel’s national government to a new one under Scholz have slowed decision-making. The court found that the most controversial measures contained in the federal “emergency brake” legislation that was in place from April until the end of June were in line with the constitution. Those included a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew and school closures in areas with high coronavirus infection rates. The legislation to apply measures consistently in areas with high infection rates during Germany’s last major COVID-19 wave was intended to end the patchwork of measures that has often characterized the pandemic response across Germany’s 16 states. New infections have soared in recent weeks in the European Union’s most populous country, particularly in the east and south, with hospitals there already transferring intensive care patients to other parts of Germany. They have hit levels much higher than those the country saw earlier this year, though many more Germans are vaccinated now than they were then. (AP)
The United Arab Emirates has approved Russia’s Sputnik Light vaccine as a universal booster shot against COVID-19, Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF said on Tuesday. The Russian Direct Investment Fund, which markets the vaccine abroad, said Sputnik Light can be administered six months after the second dose of any other vaccine used in the United Arab Emirates. (Reuters)
Seven COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the national capital in November so far this year, the highest count due to coronavirus infection in the last three months, according to official data. Delhi had recorded four Covid deaths in October and five in September. On November 29, the city logged one fatality and 34 fresh cases with an increased positivity rate of 0.08 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department. The city recorded a death each on November 27 and November 28 as well. The number of cumulative cases on Monday stood at 14,40,900. Over 14.15 lakh patients have recovered from the infection. The death toll due to the coronavirus infection in Delhi now stands at 25,098. The death recorded on Monday was the seventh fatality due to coronavirus infection reported in November. Earlier this month, two deaths were recorded on November 12 and one each on November 14 and 15. (PTI)
Face coverings are mandatory in shops and public transport from Tuesday as part of “targeted measures” to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, 14 cases of which have now been detected in the UK after Scotland reported three new infections. The enhanced measures, announced last week as a precaution while more information is gathered and assessed on the new variant’s transmissibility and any possible effect on current COVID-19 vaccines, also include compulsory PCR tests on arrival for all international travellers as well as a so-called boosted booster vaccination programme to cover all adults aged over 18. The Omicron variant, first identified in southern Africa, is feared to have higher re-infection risk and its potential vaccine resistance due to a large number of spike proteins remains under study. “The measures taking effect today are proportionate and responsible, and will buy us time in the face of this new variant,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “Based on everything we know, our vaccines and boosters remain our best line of defence, so it is more important than ever that people come forward when eligible to get boosted. Not only will today’s steps help us slow down the variant’s spread, but they will help us protect each other and the gains we have all worked so hard for,” he said. (AP)
Odisha registered 228 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, 31 more than the previous day, taking the tally to 10.49 lakh, a Health Department bulletin said. The COVID-19 death toll mounted to 8,411 as two more patients — one each in Jharsuguda and Nuapada districts — succumbed to the disease. Fifty-three other Covid patients have also so far died due to comorbidities, the bulletin said. Thirty-five children were among those infected and Khurda district, of which the state capital Bhubaneswar is part, recorded the highest number of 96 new infections, followed by 17 in Cuttack, it said. The state now has 2,338 active COVID-19 cases, while over 10.38 lakh people have so far recovered from the contagion. Nuapada district has only one active case and is among the six districts that have the number of patients in single digits. (PTI)
The EU drug regulator could approve COVID-19 vaccines that have been adapted to target the new variant within three to four months if needed, the agency’s chief said on Tuesday as she said existing shots would continue to provide protection. Speaking to the European Parliament, European Medicines Agency (EMA) executive director Emer Cooke said it was not known if drugmakers would need to tweak their vaccines to protect against Omicron, but the agency was preparing for that possibility. (Reuters)
French authorities confirmed the first case of the new variant of the coronavirus on Tuesday in the French island territory of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. French government spokesman Gabriel Attal gave the confirmation in an interview with Europe1 radio station. Patrick Mavingui, a microbiologist at the island’s research clinic for infectious diseases, said the person who has tested positive for the new variant is a 53-year-old man who had traveled to Mozambique and stopped in South Africa before returning to Reunion. The man was placed in quarantine. He has “muscle pain and fatigue,” Mavingui said, according to public television Reunion 1ere. (AP)
The emergence of the new omicron variant and the world’s desperate and likely futile attempts to keep it at bay are reminders of what scientists have warned for months: The coronavirus will thrive as long as vast parts of the world lack vaccines. The hoarding of limited COVID-19 shots by rich countries — creating virtual vaccine deserts in many poorer ones — doesn’t just mean risk for the parts of the world seeing shortages; it threatens the entire globe. That’s because the more the disease spreads among unvaccinated populations, the more possibilities it has to mutate and potentially become more dangerous, prolonging the pandemic for everyone. “The virus is a ruthless opportunist, and the inequity that has characterised the global response has now come home to roost,” said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, one of the groups behind the UN-backed COVAX shot-sharing initiative. Perhaps nowhere is the inequality more evident than in Africa, where under 7% of the population is vaccinated. South African scientists alerted the World Health Organisation to the new omicron variant last week, though it may never be clear where it first originated. Researchers are now rushing to determine whether it is more infectious or able to evade current vaccines. COVAX was supposed to avoid such inequality, but instead the initiative is woefully short of shots and has already abandoned its initial goal of 2 billion doses. (AP)
The Centre on Tuesday extended the nation-wide COVID-19 containment measures till December 31 in view of the emergence of a highly mutant COVID-19 variant Omicron in some countries and asked the states to be vigilant. In a communication, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also asked states and UTs to strictly adhere to the November 25 advisory issued by the Union Health Ministry, recommending rigorous screening and testing of all international arrivals. Bhalla also said that the contacts of the international travellers must be closely tracked and tested as per the health ministry guidelines, and the samples of travellers turning positive sent to the designated Genome Sequencing Laboratories promptly, as per the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) Guidance Document. He said the state surveillance officers must also establish close coordination with their designated or tagged genome sequencing laboratories for expediting results of genomic analysis, and the States and UTs should immediately undertake necessary public health measures, in case of the presence of variants of concern. Accordingly, the home secretary directed that the existing “Prompt and Effective Containment Measures for COVID-19” must be continued till December 31. Also on Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan held a review meeting with states and UTs and advised them to ramp up testing for early identification and management of cases. (PTI)
Germany reported another 45,753 new coronavirus cases and 388 deaths on Tuesday, but the seven-day incidence of cases per 100,000 people fell slightly for the first time in three weeks. The Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases reported that 452.2 people per 100,000 were infected in the last week, down from 452.4 on Monday and the first fall since early November. The number of new cases was still 427 more than a week ago, but the pace of weekly increase has been flattening in the last few days. As German hospitals have been swamped by the fourth wave of the pandemic in recent weeks, Germany has introduced restrictions on unvaccinated people and sought to ramp up the roll-out of booster shots. Chancellor Angela Merkel, her designated successor Olaf Scholz and regional leaders are due to meet on Tuesday to discuss how to respond to the crisis, especially after cases of the new Omicron variant were detected in the country. (Reuters)
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