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Coronavirus Omicron India Highlights: Kerala sees 34,199 Covid cases, positivity rate jumps to 37.17%

Covid-19 Active Cases India Jan 19 Highlights, Omicron Variant Cases in India, Covid-19 Vaccine Dose Status, Omicron Corona Cases on Wednesday Updates: 😷 India recorded 2,82,970 new Covid-19 cases and 441 related deaths in the last 24 hours ending 8 am Wednesday.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi |
Updated: January 20, 2022 9:07:10 am
The state reported 34,199 new cases on Wednesday when 91,983 samples were tested in the last 24 hours. The active caseload rose to 1.68 lakhs. (File)

Coronavirus Omicron India Highlights: The third wave of the pandemic in its outset itself continued to sweep Kerala with the test positivity rate going up to 37.17 per cent on Wednesday. Kerala recorded 34,199 new Covid-19 cases and 49 deaths in the last 24 hours on Wednesday. The state also reported 8,193 recoveries taking the total active tally of Covid cases in the state to 1,68,383. The current death toll of the state is 51,160. Kerala health department data showed that the growth rate in newly declared cases increased by 211 per cent during the last week starting January 12.

Health minister Veena George said the state is witnessing the extreme spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. “In sharp contrast to the first and second waves, in which the state had delayed the peak of the pandemic, cases are spiking alarmingly in the initial stage of the third wave itself. Next three weeks would be critical for Kerala,” she said.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said that while the daily positivity rate of the city’s Covid cases had seen a dip, it was not low enough for the Delhi government to lift the curbs imposed to contain the spread of the virus. He further added that government will monitor the situation for a few days. Jain added that Delhi would see around 13,000 cases on Wednesday, with a positivity rate of about 24 per cent. “The Covid positivity rate has come down from 30 per cent to 22.5 per cent in Delhi. But it is not that low that all the curbs can be lifted suddenly,” said Jain.

With 50 per cent of the eligible teenagers vaccinated with the first dose, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday tweeted, “Young and youthful India showing the way! This is encouraging news. Let us keep the momentum.” On Tuesday, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had said, “Big day for India’s fight against Covid-19! Over 50% of our youngsters between 15-18 age group have received their 1st dose of Covid-19 vaccine…Your enthusiasm for vaccination is inspiring people all over India.”

Meanwhile, India recorded 2,82,970 new Covid-19 cases and 441 related deaths in the last 24 hours ending 8 am Wednesday, data updated by the Union Ministry of Health showed. The active caseload has increased to 18,31,000, up from yesterday’s 17.3 lakh. The daily positivity rate has also increased to 15.13 per cent. The Omicron tally has reached 8,961 — an increase of 0.79 per cent since yesterday, the Ministry said.

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Covid-19 Omicron India Highlights: India records 2,82,970 new cases and 441 deaths; Omicron tally at 8,961; Covid health emergency could be over by year-end with vaccine equity, says WHO; Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata show drop in daily cases

21:09 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Delhi logs 13,785 Covid cases in last 24 hours, 35 deaths

Delhi reported 13,785 new Covid-19 cases and 35 deaths in the last 24 hours on Wednesday. With 16,580 people recovering from the virus, the active number of Covid cases in the city stood at 75,282. The city’s positivity rate on Wednesday was 23.86 per cent.

20:04 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Mumbai reports 6,032 new Covid-19 cases, 12 deaths

Mumbai on Wednesday reported 6,032 new cases, a marginal decrease from Tuesday’s number — 6,149. The number of deaths however rose to 12 in the past 24 hours from seven the day before. As many as 18,241 people recovered from the virus.

19:23 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Karnataka records 40,499 new Covid-19 cases, 21 deaths

Karnataka reported 40,499 fresh Covid cases, out of which 24,135 were from Bangalore, on Wednesday. The state's positivity rate on Wednesday was 18.80 per cent. With 23,209 discharges, the active cases in the state as of Wednesday evening were 2,67,650, out of which 1,84,000 are in Bangalore. The number of Covid-related deaths in the state on Wednesday was 21 and five were in Bangalore. 

19:04 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Covid-19 situation under control with gradual decline in cases, no reason to panic: BMC to Bombay HC

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that there has been a gradual decline in Covid-19 cases in areas under its administration.

The BMC counsel, while referring to the situation prevailing in Mumbai and adjoining regions, said that the “situation is under control” and “there is no reason to panic”.

The civic body made the submissions before a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Makarand S Karnik, which has been hearing PILs by city-based lawyer Sneha Marjadi and others, alleging improper management of Covid-19 treatment in Maharashtra.

The HC on January 10 had said that the BMC should not leave any stone unturned to ensure that the health of the people is not compromised due to the spread of the Omicron variant and that measures on vaccination, bed management, ambulance management and oxygen supply are duly implemented. 

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18:19 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Kerala reports 34,199 fresh Covid-19 cases, 49 deaths

Kerala recorded 34,199 new Covid-19 cases and 49 deaths in the last 24 hours on Wednesday. The state also reported 8,193 recoveries taking the total active tally of Covid cases in the state to 1,68,383. The current death toll of the state is 51,160. 

17:31 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Andhra Pradesh reports 10,057 new Covid-19 cases

Andhra Pradesh reports 10,057 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The active cases in the state stand at 44,935. 

17:15 (IST)19 Jan 2022
30% individuals lose vaccine-acquired immunity against Covid-19 after 6 months: Study

As much as 30 per cent individuals lose vaccine-acquired immunity after six months, according to a study conducted by AIG Hospitals along with the Asian Healthcare Foundation on Vaccine Immunity.

The study was conducted on 1,636 healthcare workers who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a press release from AIG Hospitals said.

"Our study results were at par with other global studies where we found that almost 30 per cent of individuals had antibody levels below protective immunity level of 100 AU/ml after six months. These individuals were majorly above 40 years with co-morbidities like hypertension and diabetes. Out of the total, 6 per cent did not develop any immune protection at all," Dr D Nageshwar Reddy, Chairman, AIG Hospitals said.

The results clearly indicated that with age, immunity waning is directly proportional which means that younger people have more sustained antibody levels than the elderly population. (PTI)

16:37 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Covid positivity rate not low enough to lift curbs, will monitor situation for 3-4 days: Delhi Health Minister

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said the Covid-19 positivity rate in the city is not low enough to lift the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the infection and that the government will monitor the situation for three to four days.

He also said the city is likely to see around 13,000 cases on Wednesday, with a positivity rate of around 24 per cent.

"The Covid positivity rate has come down from 30 per cent to 22.5 per cent in Delhi. But it is not that low that all the curbs can be lifted suddenly... The rate should be half of it. We will monitor the situation for three to four days," Jain said when asked about some traders' protest over DDMA's odd-even arrangement for the opening of shops. (PTI)

16:17 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Lata Mangeshkar is stable, says spokesperson

Singer Lata Mangeshkar, who was admitted to ICU after testing positive for Covid-19 in Mumbai, is now stable, said her spokesperson on Wednesday, according to PTI. 

"Lata Di is stable. Will come home after the doctors give the nod," said Mangeshkar's spokesperson Anusha Srinivsan Iyer in a statement.

Mangeshkar, 92, was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in South Mumbai with mild symptoms on January 9.

16:12 (IST)19 Jan 2022
India's third Covid wave likely to peak on Jan 23, daily cases to stay below 4 lakh: IIT Kanpur scientist

The third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India may peak on January 23 with daily cases likely to remain below the four lakh mark, according to a scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur.

Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata have already reached their peak in case of numbers in the past seven days, said Manindra Agrawal, a professor at IIT Kanpur and one of the researchers associated with the Sutra Covid model. The Sutra model has been used to track and predict Covid case numbers in the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to Agrawal, Covid-19 cases will peak in Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP, Gujarat, and Haryana this week, while states like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, and Tamil Nadu may peak next week.

"The daily peak cases are projected to peak on January 23 in India and stay below the four lakh mark. Metro cities Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata have already peaked," Agrawal said. (PTI)

16:09 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Ex-Punjab CM Parkash Badal tests positive for Covid-19, admitted to hospital

Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday tested positive for Covid-19.

The 94-year-old Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch has been admitted to Dayanand Medical College & Hospital (DMCH ) here. DMCH Medical Superintendent Dr Sandeep Sharma said Badal tested positive for coronavirus.

"He is stable," Sharma added. (PTI)

15:49 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Andhra Pradesh government revises RT-PCR testing rate

Andhra Pradesh government revised the rate for RT-PCR testing that can be charged by private laboratories. The government fixed the rate at Rs 350 for testing in the state.

15:46 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Puducherry reports 1,849 new Covid-19 cases, 3 deaths

Puducherry reported 1,849 fresh Covid-19 cases and 3 deaths in the last 24 hours on Wednesday. Puducherry also reported 895 recoveries in the last 24 hours. 

14:47 (IST)19 Jan 2022
India's new Covid-19 cases hit eight-month high, full impact weeks away

India reported new coronavirus infections at an eight-month high on Wednesday and a government scientist warned it will take weeks before data on hospitalisations and deaths will show how severe the latest wave driven by the Omicron variant will be.

The federal authorities have said Omicron was causing fewer hospitalisations and deaths than the Delta variant, which killed hundreds of thousands last year.

But Tarun Bhatnagar from the ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology in Chennai said the impact of the current run-up in infections will show up with a lag.

"We have to worry about hospitalisation and deaths and that will come later," he told Reuters in a phone interview. "There will always be a lag of two-three weeks." (Reuters)

14:30 (IST)19 Jan 2022
🥭Halted by Covid pandemic, Indian mangoes to reach US market after two years

After a gap of two years, Indian mangoes would cross the seas again and head to the United States of America.

The Covid-19 pandemic had brought to a halt the export of mangoes to the USA, which had been emerging as a preferred destination. As per the norms, the fruit has to be irradiated before it is shipped out of the country. A phytosanitary inspector from the destination country oversees the process. However, the inspector has not been able to travel in the last two years, due to the pandemic and subsequent suspension of flights. Last year, the US government had sought on-site inspection, but Indian exporters did not agree to this given the risk involved.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Sunil Pawar, Managing Director of the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) said, “This year the phytosanitary inspector would be present for the inspection”. Besides, Indian mangoes had figured in the bilateral trade deals signed with the USA. Read more

14:25 (IST)19 Jan 2022
'Delta ho ya Omicron, main mask utaarega nahi'

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Wednesday shared a cheeky meme modelled on superstar Allu Arjun's blockbuster "Pushpa: The Rise" to encourage usage of masks against Covid-19. 

The popular dialogue of the film, "Pushpa, Pushpa Raj... Main jhukega nahi (I am Pushpa, Pushpa Raj... I won't back down)" was changed to, "Delta ho ya Omicron, main mask utaarega nahi (Whether it is the Delta variant or Omicron, I won't remove the mask".

14:08 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Decision on relaxing curbs after Friday meeting with experts, say Karnataka CM

A decision on relaxing Covid-19 curbs would be taken after a meeting with the experts on Friday, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told the media on Wednesday.

"The number of hospitalisations is less in the current wave of Covid. So there is an opinion that it would be better to carry on daily life by following the Covid guidelines and the experts are examining it. They will present a comprehensive picture at the meeting on Friday. A suitable decision will be taken after getting clarity about the issue," said Bommai who also declared that he had recovered from Covid-19. 

13:54 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Day after testing positive, Kerala nurse found dead at home

A 45-year-old nursing officer at the government taluk hospital of Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, who had tested positive for Covid-19 Monday, was found dead at her home Tuesday.

P S Saritha had been on duty at the Covid care centre for four days from January 8. Monday, she tested positive for Covid-19 and opted for home isolation as there were no major symptoms necessitating hospitalization. Read more

13:22 (IST)19 Jan 2022
Positivity rate not low enough to ease restrictions: Delhi Health Minister

"The positivity rate has come down from 30 per cent to 22.5 per cent and the total number of cases in Delhi has also decreased. However, the positivity rate is not low enough that we can relax the Covid-19 restrictions," Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain was quoted as saying by ANI on Wednesday.

The Minister added while hospitalisations in the national capital are low and several beds remain vacant, the government is conducting more tests.

Jain also said that a positivity rate of 24 per cent and 13,000 Covid cases are expected today (Wednesday) in the city.

13:08 (IST)19 Jan 2022
TN: Palaniswami asks TASMACs to be shut amid Covid surge

Tamil Nadu Assembly Opposition leader and former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday demanded that the government-run liquor shops be shut till the Covid-19 situation in the state comes under control. 

In a series of tweets, Palaniswami said, 'When AIADMK was in power in May 2020, the Covid cases were around 775 and then-Opposition leader MK Stalin had started a campaign to close TASMAC shops. Now, with more than 24,000 cases, what's the need to open the TASMACs?'

Chennai A health worker administers a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine to a beneficiary, in Chennai. (PTI)

As Covid testing numbers fall, govt gives states a nudge

The Union Health Ministry Tuesday told health departments in the country to increase testing, highlighting a decline in several states and Union Territories over the last few days.

Additional Health Secretary Arti Ahuja, without naming any state or Union Territory, reiterated to health secretaries the fresh ICMR guidelines issued after the emergence of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.

The new ICMR guidelines had stated that all those who are symptomatic and at-risk contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases must be tested — while there was no need to do so for asymptomatic people.

‘Billions need to be vaccinated at a faster rate for pandemic to end’

In order to reach the end of the pandemic, billions of people need to be vaccinated at a faster pace, Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Serum Institute of India (SII), said on Tuesday. “The Covid vaccine supply is no longer a constraint… and we are in a much better place than last year to meet the demands,” Poonawalla added.

He also called for establishment of a clear standard for vaccine trials and harmonised framework for vaccine approval and distribution. Poonawalla was a panelist at a session on ‘Meeting the Challenge of Vaccine Equity’ organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday.

All governments should come together for agreements on export restrictions that can help deal better with pandemics, Poonawalla said.

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