Coronavirus live | U.K. COVID-19 deaths top 150,000

More than 2 crore first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to those in the 15-18 age group, taking the total doses administered to over 151.47 crore on Saturday, the Union Health Ministry said. More than 79 lakh vaccine doses were administered till 7 pm

Registration for the ‘precaution dose’ of COVID-19 vaccine for healthcare workers, frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with co-morbidities started on the CoWIN portal on Saturday evening. The exercise of administering the precaution dose to these category of beneficiaries will begin from January 10.

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Lauding the feat of over two crore youngsters in the 15-18 age group getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for continuing the momentum.

Read | Battling Omicron, the Tamil Nadu way

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 need for lockdown, says WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan

The World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Saturday said lockdowns were not needed since there was a better understanding of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Speaking to presspersons at an event in which a nutrition garden was inaugurated at Thiruvanmiyur by Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan, she said, “During the first wave, we did not know much about it, which was why many countries imposed lockdowns.”

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U.K. coronavirus deaths top 150,000: government

More than 150,000 people have died after catching coronavirus in the United Kingdom, the government said Saturday, in a milestone for one of the worst affected countries in Europe.

The government reported that deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test had reached 150,057 since the start of the pandemic. Russia is the only European country with a higher death toll. -AFP

Confusion prevails over travel

Though intra-State and inter-State travel was allowed as per the guidelines issued by the Karnataka Government, a majority of motorists who had planned trips during the weekend either cancelled or rescheduled their plans. Those who chose to travel by road on Saturday faced many hurdles at checkpoints. Confusion reigned on the streets with police officials at every barricade interpreting the guidelines differently.

For instance, a group of four luxury cars was stopped at Town Hall on Saturday. As the police threatened to seize the vehicles, the occupants were seen trying hard to convince them that they were on their way to a marriage in Kodagu, and submitted related documents showing that marriages were indeed allowed as per the guidelines. After nearly an hour, police personnel took down the numbers of the cars and let the group go.

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COVID-19 | Testing hesitancy a new headache for doctors

Notwithstanding two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain individuals have been found to be resisting routine medical tests and procedures. With the ongoing surge in COVID cases, such reluctance could prove detrimental to their health, opine healthcare professionals.

Doctors at government hospitals, who attend patients with the symptoms, say many of them are reluctant to undergo COVID diagnostic tests while some others are curious to know if they have contracted the Delta or Omicron variant. Then there are those who have been requesting ‘tests’ for Omicron diagnosis. There is also a category of people who are consulting doctors but do not want to know their infection status.

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Nagaland imposes stricter measures to check coronavirus

Nagaland government on Saturday re-imposed night curfew, restricted mass gatherings and directed schools not to hold classes up to class eight till January 31 to check the spread of coronavirus.

Nagaland Chief Secretary J Alam has ordered night curfews from 9 pm to 5 am from Sunday and restriction on mass gatherings to 50% of the capacity of the venue or up to a maximum of 200 people, whichever is lower, subject to all those taking part are fully vaccinated. -PTI

Delhi govt to increase beds in hospitals, COVID-care centres: Health minister

The Delhi government has decided to increase 5,650 normal beds and 2,075 ICU beds for coronavirus patients in 14 hospitals, along with 2,800 beds in eight COVID-care centres, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Saturday.

In a statement, he said the Delhi government is making all necessary arrangements in view of the rising coronavirus cases and the situation is normal. -PTI

Shops to close by 8 pm, restaurants by 9 pm in Shillong to curb COVID-19 spread

To prevent the surge in COVID-19, shops in Shillong were on Saturday asked to close at 8 pm and restaurants at 9 pm, an official.

The restriction has been imposed by East Khasi Hills district administration and will be effective in the entire district, besides in Shillong, which forms a part of it, till further orders, the official said.

East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner Isawanda Laloo said shops have been asked to remain shut during the weekends. -PTI

Link COVID-19 curbs to hospital bed occupancy, not positivity rate: Goa Expert Committee

The Goa government’s Expert Committee on COVID-19 on Saturday recommended that outbreak curbs should be linked to hospital admissions rather than the earlier practice of basing it on the positivity rate (infections per 100 tests).

The committee, which met during the day under acting Dean of Goa Medical College Dr Wiseman Pinto, pointed out that positivity rate was high but the number of people getting admitted in hospitals for the infection was low.

A committee member said lockdown should be imposed if the hospital bed occupancy crosses 50%. -PTI

Court documents show Djokovic had COVID-19 last month

Novak Djokovic’s lawyers filed court papers Saturday in his challenge against deportation from Australia that show the tennis star tested positive for COVID-19 last month and recovered, grounds he used in applying for a medical exemption to the country’s strict vaccination rules.

The No. 1-ranked Djokovic was denied entry at the Melbourne airport late Wednesday after border officials canceled his visa for failing to meet its entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. -PTI

Educational institutes closed till January 26 in H.P.

Himachal Pradesh on Saturday recorded 728 fresh COVID-19 cases, its biggest single-day jump in infections in the last several months, pushing the State’s virus tally to 2,31,587, a health official said.

Meanwhile, it was decided in a video conference meeting of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur with Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and Chief Medical Officers from Shimla on Saturday that all educational institutions in the state, except medical, dental and nursing colleges, would remain closed till January 26 to ensure students’ safety, an official spokesperson said. -PTI

Puducherry steps up surveillance at border points amid rising COVID-19 cases

The Puducherry administration on Saturday decided to strengthen its border surveillance as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid rising cases of Omicron variant.

In a press release, District Collector E Vallavan said a joint meeting of officials of the Revenue, Health, Police and Local Administration departments was held earlier in the day to decide several measures to keep vigil on the spread of the virus. -PTI

Movement in groups of five or more prohibited during daytime from Jan 10 midnight; other curbs tightened

Tightening restrictions in the face of surging COVID-19 cases, the Maharashtra Government on Saturday prohibited movement in public in groups of five or more from 5 in the morning to 11 at night, effective January 10 midnight.

Further, no movement will be allowed in public from 11 pm to 5 am except for essential services, a government circular said.

The State had reported more than 40,000 new cases of coronavirus on Friday. -PTI

Delhi Police enhances patrol, puts barricades as weekend curfew unrolls

The Delhi Police intensified patrolling, raised barricades and warned people of legal action to check violation of weekend curfew imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus even as rain and biting cold made most Delhiites stay indoors on Saturday.

The curfew started at 10 pm on Friday and will remain in force till Monday 5 am. Overnight rain continued till first half of the day due to which roads were mostly deserted in the city. -PTI

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