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India Covid updates: Govt says world seeing fourth surge of cases; UP, Haryana & Maharashtra impose fresh curbs

India has so far reported 358 cases of the Omicron variant, of which 183 were analysed and 121 of them were found to have foreign travel history.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: December 24, 2021 9:49:08 pm
Crowded Sarojini Nagar market amid rising cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19, in New Delhi, Thursday, Dec 23, 2021. (PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore)

Covid-19 updates: With the country witnessing an uptick in Omicron cases, several states have imposed fresh curbs, especially in view of festive season.

The Health Ministry, in a press briefing, cautioned people against lowering the guard, stating the world is witnessing a fourth surge of Covid cases. The government further urged people to avoid crowding and unnecessary travel and stressed on the importance of Covid- appropriate behaviour. A senior official said the predominant strain in India continued to be Delta, including in recently identified clusters.

India has so far reported 358 cases of the Omicron variant, of which 183 were analysed and 121 of them were found to have foreign travel history, the official added. The government said the Covid-19 case positivity rate in Kerala and Mizoram is much higher than national average and a cause for concern. It said 20 districts across country were reporting a weekly positivity rate between 5 and 10 per cent and two districts over 10 per cent.

According the Union Health Ministry data updated at 8 am, India recorded 6,650 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally of cases to 3,47,72,626, while the count of active cases has declined to 77,516. The death toll due to the disease has climbed to 4,79,133, with 374 daily fatalities being recorded.

Maharashtra announces fresh curbs amid uptick in Omicron cases

Amid rising Omicron cases in the state, the Maharashtra government on Friday prohibited the gathering of more than five people in public places between 9 pm to 6 am. The government stated that only 100 people can attend indoor weddings and restricted limit to 250 for outdoor weddings. Gyms, spas, hotels, theatres and cinema halls in the state can only allow 50 per cent of the full capacity.

The state reported 20 new cases of Covid-19 variant Omicron, taking the total tally of the new variant in the state to 108, the highest in the country. Out of the total cases, 54 have been discharged following a negative RT PCR test, the state government said. Maharashtra has reported 1,410 new Covid-19 cases, 12 deaths and 868 discharges today. The active Covid-19 caseload in the state stands at 8,426.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai civic body made seven days’ home quarantine mandatory for passengers arriving from Dubai. Amid a surge in cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the state, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued fresh guidelines for international passengers arriving in the city from Dubai.

According to the guidelines, all arriving passengers from Dubai, who are Mumbai residents, will compulsorily undergo seven days of home quarantine. There will be no need for RT-PCR test on arrival if they are fully vaccinated.

Haryana, UP reimpose night curfews 

The Uttar Pradesh government has announced fresh restrictions, including night curfew from December 24. The curfew will be in force from 11 pm to 5 am. The decision came following a high-level meeting where Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the imposition of the curbs. Besides the curfew, other Covid-related protocols and restrictions would also come into place, including a ban on gatherings of more than 200 people.

The state government has also ordered a special drive at marketplaces to spread the message: “Mask nahi, toh saman nahi” (no selling products to people without masks). Furthermore, increased testing and tracing of all individuals entering the state from another country or other states, special vigilance at bus stands, railway stations and airports are also among the newly issued guidelines.

Covid monitoring committees in villages and wards of urban areas have been revived across the state apprehending a “third wave”. These committees have been instructed to trace individuals coming from outside, get them tested and ensure they are quarantined or isolated, based on the need. Instructions have also been given to set up Covid-19 help desks and day care centres at industrial units.

Similarly, the Haryana government has imposed a night curfew from 11 pm till 5 am from Friday. Gatherings of more than 200 persons in public places and events have been barred till further notice.

“In view of the possibility of increasing cases of Omicron in the State, for the safety of the people, from January 1, 2022, both doses of vaccination have been made mandatory for entry in all public sector institutions. Along with this, gathering of more than 200 people in public places, other programmes and movement of the public from 11 pm to 5 am will be strictly banned,” Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said after chairing a meeting to review Covid-preparedness.

He added, “In order to curb the influence of Omicron, it is necessary that people should be made more and more aware. Special attention should be paid to ensure everyone gets vaccinated. The Health Department should complete all its preparations to deal with the rising Covid cases. On December 23, more than two lakh people got the second dose of the Covid vaccine. Apart from this, 30,000-32,000 patients are being tested daily by the health department and those found positive are being sent for genome sequencing.”

Meanwhile, Gujarat extended the timings of the night curfew in eight cities by two hours over Omicron concerns. The curfew will now be in force from 11 pm to 5 am.

Kerala continues to log over 2,500 cases

Kerala, one of the top contributors to the Covid-19 cases in the country, continue to log over 2500 new infections. The southern state on Friday reported 2,605 new cases taking the total affected in the state to 52,19,062. The state health department said 342 deaths were recorded which raised the toll to 46,203.

Delhi records 180 Covid cases, highest since June 16

The number of new cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) shot up to 180 in the capital on Friday, up from 118 cases recorded a day before, according to the daily health bulletin released by the Delhi government.

This is the highest number of cases recorded in the city since June 16 when 212 cases were reported.

This week, Delhi recorded over 144 new cases of Covid-19 on average each day according to the data. In comparison to just over 70 cases a day on average during last week, and 51 cases the week before that.

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