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Omicron Coronavirus India Highlights, December 19: Tanzanian student studying in Rajkot university tests positive for Omicron

🔴 Covid-19 Active Cases India Dec 19 Highlights, New Omicron Variant Cases in India, Coronavirus 3rd Wave, Covid-19 Vaccine Statistics and Registration: An NRI tested positive for the coronavirus infection at the Ahmedabad international airport soon after his arrival from the UK on December 15.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: December 20, 2021 9:03:13 am
COVID-19 Omicron Live News, omicron variant Coronavirus indiaAll three, including a teenager, have a history of international travel.

Coronavirus News Highlights: Rajkot becomes the second district of Saurashtra region to report the presence of Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 as a 17-year-old student from Tanzanian who had arrived at RK University near the city was on Sunday confirmed to have contracted Omicron.

The Tanzanian national had landed in Ahmedabad on December 12 and had reached the RK University campus the following day with another student. After the varsity notified the arrival of the 17-year-old, the health department of Rajkot district panchayat took his samples on December 14 for Covid-19 tests and the results returned positive for the viral disease.

Follow latest updates |liveCoronavirus News, December 20

Iran has detected its first case of the new Omicron variant, state media reported on Sunday. The country has vaccinated 60 per cent of its 85-million population, as reported by AP.

Also, with Delhi reporting 22 cases of the Omicron variant, the state government has intensified random Covid testing at Metro stations, markets, tourist places, and other areas which see a high footfall. Apart from testing, the districts are also vigorously carrying out vaccination, enforcing Covid- appropriate behaviour, and prosecuting those who violate protocol in public places.

Meanwhile, Andaman and Nicobar Islands have achieved 100 per cent double dose Covid vaccination of its target beneficiaries. The administration said it was the first among the states and Union territories to achieve the feat using only Covishield.

India’s Omicron Covid count rose to 126 on Saturday after Karnataka and Kerala reported six and four cases respectively, while three more persons in Maharashtra also tested positive for the variant. According to central and state officials, omicron cases have been detected in 11 states and union territories — Maharashtra (43), Delhi (22), Rajasthan (17) and Karnataka (14), Telangana (8), Gujarat (7), Kerala (11), Andhra Pradesh (1), Chandigarh (1), Tamil Nadu (1) and West Bengal (1).

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Omicron Coronavirus Highlights: A NRI tested positive for the coronavirus infection at the Ahmedabad international airport soon after his arrival from the UK. Meanwhile, a 15-year-old boy from Gandhinagar was also detected with the Omicron variant after returning from the UK. Follow for more updates: 

21:35 (IST)19 Dec 2021
Tanzanian student studying in Rajkot university tests positive for Omicron

Rajkot became the second district of the Saurashtra region to report the presence of Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 as a 17-year-old student from Tanzanian who had arrived at RK University near the city was on Sunday confirmed to have contracted Omicron.

The Tanzanian national had landed in Ahmedabad on December 12 and had reached the RK University campus the following day with another student. After the varsity notified the arrival of the 17-year-old, the health department of Rajkot district panchayat took his samples on December 14 for Covid-19 tests and the results returned positive for the viral disease. Therefore, the student was admitted to the Omicron ward of the state government-run Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay (PDU) Government Hospital in Rajkot the same day and his samples were sent to Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), Gandhinagar for genome sequencing of the virus.

21:12 (IST)19 Dec 2021
Three more Omicron cases in Gujarat take state tally to 10

Three more cases of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were reported in Gujarat Sunday taking the total number in the state to 10. Meanwhile, the state reported 51 new cases of infection taking the tally to 8,36,810. While Ahmedabad reported the highest number of cases at 18, Vadodara city had 10 and Surat city six.

The three new Omicron cases were reported from Gandhinagar, Anand and Surat. While it is the first known Omicron case from Anand and Gandhinagar, it is the second reported from Surat. All three, including a teenager, have a history of international travel.

20:21 (IST)19 Dec 2021
Amid Omicron scare, random testing at Metro stations, markets ramped up in Delhi

With the capital reporting 22 cases of the Omicron variant, the Delhi government has intensified random Covid testing at Metro stations, markets, tourist places, and other areas which see a high footfall. Since the last 15 days, each of the 11 districts has been carrying out about 4,000-5,000 tests daily.

Apart from testing, the districts are also vigorously carrying out vaccination, enforcing Covid- appropriate behaviour, and prosecuting those who violate protocol in public places.

Read More

19:22 (IST)19 Dec 2021
Omicron variant 'raging through the world', traveling increases risk -Fauci

US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday the easily transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus is "raging through the world" as he urged Americans to get booster shots and continue wearing masks.

Travelling will increase the risk of infection even among vaccinated people, Fauci added. (Reuters)

19:20 (IST)19 Dec 2021
Thousands in Brussels protest against Covid restrictions

For the third time, thousands of protesters took to streets in central Brussels on Sunday against Covid restrictions imposed by the government to counter an increase in infections and due to the new omicron variant.

Brussels saw a strong police presence on the streets in anticipation of the crowd, since the protests had earlier descended into violence and injury, AP reported. 

17:46 (IST)19 Dec 2021
Netherlands ‘going into lockdown again’ to curb omicron

Nations across Europe moved to reimpose tougher measures to stem a new wave of Covid-19 infections spurred by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, with the Netherlands leading the way by imposing a nationwide lockdown.

All non-essential stores, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands will be closed until Jan. 14 starting Sunday, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a hastily arranged press conference Saturday night. Schools and universities will shut until Jan. 9, he said.

In what is surely to prove a major disappointment, the lockdown terms also rein in private holiday celebrations. Residents only will be permitted two visitors except for Christmas and New Year’s, when four will be allowed, according to Rutte.

Read More

16:32 (IST)19 Dec 2021
UK health minister doesn't rule out new COVID restrictions before Christmas

Britain's health minister Sajid Javid declined on Sunday to rule out the chance of further COVID-19 restrictions before Christmas, saying the spread of the Omicron variant was a very fast moving situation.

Britain reported a surge in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday, which government advisors said could be just the tip of the iceberg. London's mayor declared a "major incident" to help the city's hospitals cope.

Asked whether he could rule out restrictions before Christmas, Javid told BBC Television: "We are assessing the situation, it is very fast moving."

"There are no guarantees in this pandemic I don't think. At this point, we just have to keep everything under review." (Reuters)

15:40 (IST)19 Dec 2021
First Omicron case reported in Iran

Iran has detected its first case of the new Omicron variant, state media reported on Sunday. 

The country has vaccinated 60 per cent of its 85-million population, as reported by AP.

14:58 (IST)19 Dec 2021
Delhi private hospitals roped in to isolate international arrivals from ‘at-risk’ countries

With Omicron cases on the rise, four private hospitals in the city have been directed by the Delhi government to set up isolation facilities for suspected Covid patients arriving at the international airport.

Passengers testing positive for Covid or suspected of it upon arrival from “at-risk” countries at IGI Airport are being referred for isolation. Lok Nayak Hospital had been declared the designated centre for all such cases and it has set aside 100 beds for this purpose. Now, the Delhi government is roping in private hospitals for the same.

Read more

13:26 (IST)19 Dec 2021
2 UK returnees found infected with Omicron in Gujarat; tally rises to 9

A 45-year-old NRI and a teenage boy, who recently arrived in Gujarat from the United Kingdom, have been found infected with the Omicron variant of COVID-19, officials said. With this, the total number of such cases in the state has gone up to nine.      

The NRI (non-resident Indian) tested positive for the coronavirus infection in the RT-PCR test carried out at the Ahmedabad international airport soon after his arrival from the UK on December 15.

On Saturday, a 15-year-old boy from Gandhinagar was also detected with the Omicron variant after returning from the UK, Gandhinagar Municipal Commissioner Dhaval Patel said. (PTI)

11:14 (IST)19 Dec 2021
India records 7,081 COVID-19 cases, 264 deaths in a day

With 7,081 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's total tally of cases rose to 3,47,40,275, while the active cases declined to 83,913, the lowest in 570 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated.

The death toll has climbed to 4,77,422, with 264 daily fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been recorded below 15,000 for the last 52 days now.

The active cases have declined to 83,913, comprising 0.24 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has been recorded at 98.38 per cent, the highest since March 2020. (PTI)

10:32 (IST)19 Dec 2021
Andaman and Nicobar Islands achieve 100 pc double dose COVID vaccination

Andaman and Nicobar Islands have achieved 100 per cent double dose COVID vaccination of its target beneficiaries. The administration said it was the first among the states and Union territories to achieve the feat using only Covishield.

The vaccination drive in the islands kickstarted with the rest of the country on January 16 this year. As per a health bulletin, 2.87 lakh people have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine against the target of 2.86 lakh beneficiaries, leading to 100.41 per cent vaccination.

10:28 (IST)19 Dec 2021
104 new COVID-19 cases in Thane district, 1 death

Thane has added 104 new cases of coronavirus, raising the infection tally in the Maharashtra district to 5,71,122, an official said on Sunday. These new cases were reported on Saturday, he said.

The virus also claimed the life of one more person, which pushed the death toll in the district to 11,600, he said, adding that the COVID-19 mortality rate in Thane is 2.03 per cent.

In neighbouring Palghar district, the COVID-19 case count has gone up to 1,38,923, while the death toll has reached 3,307. (PTI)

10:27 (IST)19 Dec 2021
Netherlands ''going into lockdown again'' to curb omicron

Nations across Europe moved to reimpose tougher measures to stem a new wave of COVID-19 infections spurred by the highly transmissible omicron variant, including a new nationwide lockdown introduced by the Dutch government.

Schools, universities, and all non-essential stores, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands will be closed until January 14 starting Sunday, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

Residents only will be permitted two visitors except for Christmas and New Year's, when four will be allowed, he said. "The Netherlands is going into lockdown again from tomorrow," Rutte said, adding that the move was "unavoidable because of the fifth wave caused by the omicron variant that is bearing down on us." (AP)

20:38 (IST)18 Dec 2021
Karnataka logs 335 new Covid-19 cases, 5 deaths

Karnataka on Saturday reported 335 new cases of Covid-19 and 5 deaths, taking the total number of infections to 30,02,127 and death toll to 38,287, the health department said. While the positivity rate for the day stood at 0.28 per cent, case fatality rate (CFR) was at 1.49 per cent.

20:00 (IST)18 Dec 2021
Karnataka records 6 more Omicron cases, tally 14

Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Saturday said six more cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected in the state. This takes the state's tally of Omicron cases to fourteen. 

Of the six cases, five have have been detected from COVID clusters that have emerged from two educational institutions in Dakshina Kannada district.

The new cases of Omicron have been detected after five cases were reported in the state on Thursday. Earlier, the country's first two Omicron cases-- a South African national who has left the country, and the other a local person, a Doctor with no travel history, were detected in Karnataka on December 2. Following this, a 34-year-old Bengaluru native who returned to the city following a business trip in South Africa had become the third case on December 12. (PTI)

19:58 (IST)18 Dec 2021
Delhi records 86 new Covid cases, highest single-day rise in over 5 months

The national capital on Saturday recorded 86 fresh COVID-19 cases in a day, the highest in over five months, and zero death as the positivity rate stood at 0.13 per cent, according to data shared by the city's health department. On July 8, Delhi had reported 93 coronavirus cases.

The rise in cases is being recorded amid the Omicron scare in Delhi as the total number of patients infected with the latest variant of coronavirus jumped by 12 on Friday to reach 22. The number of Covid cases recorded in Delhi so far reached 14,42,090. The death toll due to the coronavirus infection in Delhi stands at 25,100. (PTI)

19:46 (IST)18 Dec 2021
UK may be forced into Omicron circuit breaker lockdown: reports

The UK government is reportedly drawing up plans for a short two-week circuit breaker lockdown later this month, after Christmas, to try and keep pace with the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, media reports said on Saturday. According to The Times, draft regulations are being prepared, which would ban different households meeting indoors except for work purposes and pubs and restaurants being limited to outdoor service only.

The Financial Times reported that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been presented with a number of options under a so-called Plan C, ranging from "mild guidance to nudge people, right through to lockdown".

Leaked minutes from the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, accessed by the BBC, reveal scientists warning ministers that tougher measures need to be brought in "very soon" to try and keep hospitalisations within manageable levels for the National Health Service.

The reports of further lockdown restrictions come as the UK recorded another highest daily total of 93,045 COVID-19 infections on Friday, up 4,669 cases from the previous record of 88,376 set on Thursday. (PTI)

19:37 (IST)18 Dec 2021
Omicron scare: Christmas-New Year season nears, Mumbai civic chief tells people to adhere to norms strictly

Mumbai civic chief IS Chahal on Saturday said ward-level squads will be formed to take action against COVID-19 protocol violators.

Amid the scare from the new Omicron variant of coronavirus and the Christmas-New Year festival season round the corner, he said people in the metropolis must avoid crowding in hotels, restaurants, cinemas, malls and asserted that attendance caps in place for marriages and other functions will have to be adhered to strictly.

While the attendance limit is 50 per cent of capacity of confined/closed spaces, it is 25 per cent of capacity in open places, while any gathering of over 1,000 people will require the prior permission of the Local Disaster Management Authority, the civic chief said. (PTI)

19:06 (IST)18 Dec 2021
Bengaluru: No compulsory institutional quarantine for passengers from ‘high-risk’ nations

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Saturday clarified that no decision has been taken regarding compulsory institutional quarantine of international travellers from ‘high-risk’ countries.

“The Government of India has identified 12 countries as ‘high-risk countries’ and has stipulated measures to contain the spread of the Omicron variant. Accordingly, the Government of Karnataka and the BBMP have taken measures to screen and test the international arrivals from the ‘high-risk countries’, and if found positive, (mandates) immediate hospital isolation, else self-isolation at home and repeat test after 8 days. BBMP has not yet stipulated compulsory institutional quarantine for international arrivals from any of the countries. Any decision taken in this regard would be after due consultation of experts and in conformity with Government of India and Government of Karnataka guidelines,” the BBMP clarified in a circular. Read More

Kerala: Couple from UAE tests positive for Omicron variant of Covid-19

Two travellers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is not listed as a high-risk country by India, were Friday found to be infected with the Omicron variant of Covid-19, taking the total number of such cases in Kerala to seven.

State Health Minister Veena George Friday said the couple, in their sixties and originally from Kerala, reached the state on December 8 and have been under self-observation since then as their country-of-origin was not listed under the high-risk category. “The couple tested positive for Covid-19 on December 11 and their samples were sent for genome sequencing. Passengers who came in close contact with the couple would be observed,” the minister said.

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