Coronavirus live | Vaccines mandatory in Rajasthan from Feb 1

The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India may peak by February 3, 2022, claims a modelling study by researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.

However, the forecast is based on the assumption that India will follow the trends of rise in cases seen in many countries globally driven by the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study, posted on the preprint repository MedRxiv on December 21, used a statistical tool named the Gaussian Mixture model to forecast the third wave.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the updates:


No new restrictions on account of Omicron variant in T.N.

The Tamil Nadu government has decided not to impose any fresh restriction in view of the emergence of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus. It will continue with the existing curbs till December 31.



100% of eligible population given first dose, says Kejriwal

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the Capital has taken a monumental step in the fight against COVID-19 by administering the first dose of vaccine to 100% of its eligible population.

According to Mr. Kejriwal, 148.33 lakh citizens had been vaccinated with at least one dose so far and more than 1.035 crore people had taken the second dose. He saluted all the healthcare and front-line workers for their contribution to this cause.



Mamata prays for well-being of all on occasion of Christmas, asks revellers to follow COVID norms

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attended the midnight mass at a prominent church in the city on Friday and prayed for the well-being of one and all.

She later took to social media and urged everyone to maintain COVID-19 protocols amid the festivities.

“I pray to the God for the safety and well being of everyone. The warm glow of festive lights and smiling faces everywhere filled my heart with joy. As we celebrate I urge everyone to maintain all COVID protocols. Wear a mask at all times and use hand sanitizers,” she posted on Facebook.

“Merry Christmas to all my brothers and sisters across the world. From Vatican to Goa to Meghalaya to Kolkata- enjoy the festive season and make happy memories,” the TMC boss added.

Interestingly, the TMC is making its foray into Goa and Meghalaya, the two States which found a mention in her tweet. Both Goa and Meghalaya have a sizeable Christian population. – PTI


8 new Omicron cases in Kerala, State’s first patient infected by new variant recovers

Eight more cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus were detected in Kerala on Friday, taking the total number of infected people to 37, Health Minister Veena George said.

One person each from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, two each from Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts have been detected with the new variant of the virus.

Meanwhile, the first Omicron positive patient aged 39 has been discharged from hospital.

The Health department said a 48-year-old foreigner who reached Thiruvananthapuram from Russia, a Kollam native (40) who reached Ernakulam from Namibia, an Alappuzha native (28) who reached Ernakulam from Qatar were among those who were found infected with the new variant.

Another Alappuzha native (40) who reached Ernakulam from Qatar, a three-year-old girl who reached Ernakulam from the United Kingdom, a 25-year-old Ernakulam native who came from UAE, a Thrissur native (48) from Kenya and another Thrissur native (71) who was in the primary contact list of a patient are among those who were confirmed with the new variant.

“The three-year-old came from the UK along with her parents. Her parents were tested negative on arrival at the airport. They were under home quarantine. The tests were done after the child started showing symptoms,” the health department said in a release. – PTI


Delhi government orders Sarojini Nagar market to operate on odd-even basis on Dec 25-26

The Delhi government on Friday allowed Sarojini Nagar market to operate on odd-even basis over the weekend in view of the large footfalls seen in the market in the last few days.

“And whereas, increasing footfalls are seen in Sarojini Nagar market during last few days; and therefore with the need to control the same in light of the rapid spike in daily cases and positivity; it was decided unanimously by all Market Trade Associations in the meeting held on 24 December 2021, to follow odd-even operations for weekend of 25 & 26 December 2021,” read the government order. – PTI


Outbreak recorded on Florida-based cruise ship

A COVID-19 outbreak has been recorded on a South Florida-based cruise ship, as the number of coronavirus cases in Florida has hit its second-highest level since the start of the pandemic.

An undisclosed number of passengers and crew aboard the Carnival Freedom caught the virus and the ship was denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba, Carnival said in a statement.

The ship has 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members and was scheduled to return to Miami on Sunday following an 8-day cruise. Passengers were required to be vaccinated and they were tested before leaving last Saturday, according to Carnival.

“Carnival Freedom is following all protocols and has a small number on board who are in isolation due to a positive COVID test,” the statement said. “Our protocols anticipate this possibility and we implement them as necessary.” It was the third outbreak this week affecting cruise ships operated by Carnival and Royal Caribbean departing Miami and Fort Lauderdale ports. – AP


UK records 122,186 COVID cases amid ‘glimmer of Christmas hope’

The UK on Friday recorded another daily COVID-19 infection high at 122,186, up from 119,789 cases the previous day, as experts pointed to a “glimmer of Christmas hope” after studies showed that the Omicron variant is much less severe than the previously dominant Delta variant.

In additional data released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), 1.74 million people in the UK had coronavirus on December 19, up by more than 368,000 on the figure three days earlier. This equates to 2.7 per cent of the population or one in 35 people. In London, that figure is even higher at one in 20, driven by the rapidly transmissible Omicron variant.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which released a detailed analysis of real world Omicron data on Thursday, said its findings offer some hope but the additional burden on the National Health Service (NHS) due to staff COVID positive tests continues to be a strain. – PTI


Vaccines mandatory for using various facilities in Rajasthan from Feb 1

COVID-19 vaccination will be made mandatory for entering and using facilities at various places in Rajasthan from February 1 next year, officials said on Friday.

The decision was taken at a meeting in which Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held detailed discussions with divisional commissioners, district collectors, principals of medical colleges and health officials through video conferencing about the COVID-19 situation in the State.

The Chief Minister also directed the officials to ensure strict compliance of various measures like wearing face mask and social distancing from the first week of January. – PTI



DTC to procure 15 tankers for transportation of medical oxygen

The Delhi Transport Corporation on Friday approved the procurement of 15 tankers for transportation of medical oxygen amid rising COVID-19 cases and Omicron threat.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) board chaired by Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot.- PTI


Man found omicron-positive after returning to Kolkata from Ireland

A 24-year-old man who returned from Ireland to Kolkata was on Friday found to be infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus, health officials said.At present, West Bengal has three omicron patients who are undergoing treatment, they said.

The patient is undergoing treatment in an isolated room in the restricted COVID unit of the hospital since his admission, said an official from the Health Department. “The patient is haemodynamically stable and relevant conservative medical management is going on,” he added. – PTI


World witnessing 4th COVID surge: Government cautions people against lowering guard

Noting the world is witnessing a fourth surge in Covid cases, the government on Friday cautioned people against lowering the guard, particularly during year-end festivities, even as it underlined that infection due to Omicron does not necessarily lead to severe symptomatic disease.

Addressing a joint press conference, ICMR Director-General Dr. Balram Bhargava said Delta continues to be the predominant strain in India, including in the recently identified clusters.”Therefore, we need to continue with the same strategy of following Covid-appropriate behaviour and ramping up vaccination,” he said. – PTI


US to lift travel ban on 8 southern African countries

The US will lift travel restrictions to eight southern African countries on New Year’s Eve, the White House announced Friday.The restrictions, imposed last month, were meant to blunt the spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant.The November 29 ban barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who had recently been in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. – PTI

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