Coronavirus live | U.S. sets global record with over 1 million COVID-19 cases in a day

Over 37.5 lakh children received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, the second day of the inoculation drive for those in the age group of 15-18 years, according to Union Health Ministry

The Centre on Tuesday asked States and Union territories to review infrastructure preparedness, including re-establishment of field and makeshift facilities, so that they are not found wanting if there is a surge in hospital admissions due to escalation in Covid cases.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved a testing kit for detecting the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The kit is manufactured by Tata Medical and Diagnostics and is named OmiSure. The RT-PCR kit, Omisure, was earlier sent to the ICMR for approval after continued testing. The kit will be used to confirm the Omicron in patients with its S-Gene Target Failure (SGTF) strategy.

The Health Ministry has asked States to take preparatory measures with top priority and regular monitoring in the light of the increased COVID-19 cases. In a letter on Tuesday, it said the States are expected to have begun work for re-establishment of field/makeshift hospital facilities and re-purpose the beds in public and private hospitals to ensure maximum preparedness against another potential surge in cases.

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:

Soaring Omicron could lead to more dangerous variants, WHO warns

Soaring Omicron cases around the globe could increase the risk of a newer, more dangerous variant emerging, the World Health Organisation in Europe warned on Tuesday.

While the variant is spreading like wildfire around the world, it appears to be far less severe than initially feared and has raised hopes that the pandemic could be overcome and life return to more normality.

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New Covid records in U.S., U.K., France as Omicron runs rampant

The U.S., Britain, France and Australia have all announced record numbers of daily COVID-19 cases as the WHO warned Tuesday that Omicron’s dizzying spread increased the risk of newer, more dangerous variants emerging.

Britain breached 200,000 cases for the first time on Tuesday, Australia posted almost 50,000 and France registered more than 270,000, all three countries easily topping their previous records. -AFP

U.S. sets global record with over 1 million COVID cases in a day

The United States reported more than one million new COVID-19 cases on Monday after the long New Year’s weekend, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as the Omicron variant spread at a blistering pace.

There were 1,080,211 new cases in the country, a global record, although the number of cases reported on a Monday is usually higher than other days because of delays in weekend tallying, especially after such a three-day holiday weekend. Still, the figure is double the number of daily cases compared to the previous Monday.

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Revised norms for COVID-19 positive international travellers

If the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee’s (TAC) recommendations are implemented by the Government, institutional isolation and hospitalisation of all asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic international travellers, testing positive on arrival, will be reduced to five days from the existing 10.

Taking note of the simmering discontent over mandatory hospitalisation of even asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic international travellers, the TAC that held its 145th meeting on Monday night, recommended that such patients should be put up in COVID Care Centres (CCCs).

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Biden urges concern but not alarm in U.S. as omicron rises

President Joe Biden urged concern but not alarm Tuesday as the United States set records for daily reported COVID-19 cases and his administration struggled to ease concerns about testing shortages, school closures and other disruptions caused by the omicron variant.

In remarks before a meeting with his COVID-19 response team at the White House, Biden aimed to convey his administration’s urgency in addressing omicron and convince wary Americans that the current situation bears little resemblance to the onset of the pandemic or last year’s deadly winter. The president emphasized that vaccines, booster shots and therapeutic drugs have lessened the danger for the overwhelming majority of Americans who are fully vaccinated. -AP

Pfizer to supply 10 million additional courses of COVID-19 pill to U.S. govt

Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday the U.S. government has agreed to buy additional 10 million courses of its COVID-19 oral therapy, bringing the total amount of order by the government to 20 million courses.

The details of the expanded deal were not disclosed by the company. But for the first order of 10 million courses by the government in November, it had said it would pay Pfizer $5.29 billion. -Reuters

Keep hospital beds, ICUs ready within 10 days, says Naveen Patnaik

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday gave 10 days to both private and government hospitals to keep beds and intensive care units ready at par with the health infrastructure created during the peak of the second COVID wave in the State.

Mr. Patnaik held a high-level meeting on COVID-19 preparedness on a day when the State registered a 60% spike in cases. As many as 680 people tested positive in the past 24 hours as compared to 424 pople in the previous corresponding period.

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Rising sales of COVID home test kits worry officials in Bengaluru

The rampant sale of self-test kits amid rising COVID-19 cases is causing alarm among health officials as they are unable to track, isolate and treat those testing positive.

Officials in Karnataka said people who have mild flu-like symptoms or those who travel frequently are relying on this method, essentially rapid antigen test kits.

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Surge in number of cases indicative of third COVID wave in India: Expert

Noting that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus accounts for more than 50% of cases in major Indian cities, Dr. N.K. Arora, chairperson of the COVID working group NTAGI, says the massive surge in numbers indicates a third wave, but there is no need to panic.

The head of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), who said Omicron is being detected in most states in India, also analysed the COVID graph in South Africa, where Omicron originated, and spoke of the “epidemiological similarities” between the two countries.

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Rapid RT-PCR test mandatory for all international passengers landing in Mumbai

In view of spiraling COVID-19 cases, The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has made rapid RT-PCR test mandatory for all the international passengers landing at the Mumbai International Airport, as per revised guidelines.

The guidelines, issued last week, were effective since Monday, a BMC official said.

Passengers testing positive for coronavirus in rapid test will then have to undergo routine RT-PCR test, while the negative passengers will be allowed to leave but they will need to observe mandatory home quarantine for seven days, he said. -PTI

U.P. shuts schools, extends night curfew by two hours

In view of steady increase in COVID-19 cases, the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday ordered closure of all schools up to Class 10 till January 15 and extended the night curfew by two hours.

In the districts where the number of active cases exceeds 1,000, not more than 100 people will be allowed at marriage ceremonies and other events. Public places like gyms, spas, cinema halls, banquet halls and restaurants will operate at 50% capacity.

The night curfew will be imposed from 10 pm to 6 am from Thursday, according to a statement. -PTI

Karnataka govt decides to shut schools in Bengaluru, imposes weekend curfew

The Karnataka government on Tuesday decided to impose weekend curfew and extend the night curfew for two weeks in Bengaluru in view of the alarming rise in number of COVID-19 cases.

The government also decided to shut schools and pre-university colleges except for 10th and 12th standard students for two weeks.

"We have decided that barring 10th and 12th classes, schools will be shut for rest of the classes in Bengaluru. These COVID rules will come into effect from Wednesday night," Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka told reporters. -PTI

TTFI postpones all National Championships across categories due to COVID-19 surge

The Table Tennis Federation of India on Tuesday decided to postpone events in three categories (Under-15, Under-13 and Under-11) in the ongoing National Ranking (Central Zone) Championships in the wake of a fresh COVID-19 surge in the country.

The committee also decided to postpone the Senior Nationals to be held in Shillong from January 22 to 29. The Cadet and Sub-Junior Nationals that were to begin from January 11 have also been put on hold. -PTI

COVID-19 surges in Bihar, curbs brought back

Patna district on Tuesday exploded with 565 fresh Covid-19 cases, a three-fold increase in 24 hours while Bihar’s single day infections tally shot up two-and-a-half times to 893, forcing the Nitish Kumar government to order night curfew and other restrictions which will come into effect from Thursday.

According to a notification issued by the State’s home ministry, the curfew hours will be from 10 PM to 5 AM and, along with other curbs, shall remain in force till January 21.

Schools shall remain closed for up to Class VIII though online teaching will be allowed and offices, government as well as private, shall be permitted to function with not more than 50% attendance. -PTI

Delhi announces weekend curfew as COVID-19 cases cross 5,000 mark; positivity rate rises to 8.37%

The Delhi government on Tuesday announced a weekend curfew and work from home for its offices as the city recorded 5,481 fresh COVID-19 cases, the highest number since May 16, with a positivity rate of 8.37% and three fatalities.

Health Minister Satyendar Jain, however, asserted that no lockdown was being imposed in the national capital. -PTI

NRAI postpones selection trials owing to surge in COVID-19 cases

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) on Tuesday decided to postpone the upcoming selection trials for rifle, pistol and shotgun events owing to a surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.

"Due to restrictions (weekend curfew), imposed by Government of Delhi it has been decided to postpone the selection trials (pistol) which were scheduled to be held at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Ranges, New Delhi from 13th to 25th January 2022," the NRAI said in a statement. -PTI

COVID-19 test report not needed to treat general patients: Assam govt to hospitals

The Assam government on Tuesday ordered all hospitals in the state not to insist on a COVID-19 test report from general patients and provide immediate treatment to them to save their lives.

Health and Family Welfare Principal Secretary Anurag Goel, in a letter to all deputy commissioners, principals of medical colleges and joint directors of health services, said that COVID-19 cases have again started rising in the country as well as in Assam. -PTI

Ranji Trophy put on hold due to surge in COVID-19 cases, not to start from January 13

India’s premier domestic first-class competition Ranji Trophy will not start as scheduled on January 13 due to a massive surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, a BCCI official told PTI on Tuesday.

The first round was to start in multiple cities on January 13 but has been put off and the BCCI will deliberate on when to conduct the blue riband tournament some time later.

"Yes, the Ranji Trophy has now been put on hold and will not start on January 13," a BCCI tournament committee member told PTI on conditions of anonymity. -PTI

CAB puts on hold all local tournaments till January 15

Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) on Tuesday decided to put on hold all forms of local cricket till January 15, keeping in mind the recent surge of COVID-19.

The affected events include first division, second division, age group tournaments, women’s cricket and all forms of cricket in the districts.

"The health and safety of the cricketers is the top priority and the decisions have been taken seeing the current spike in pandemic and the resultant prevalent situation," CAB secretary Snehasish Ganguly said in a statement a meeting of the office-bearers. -PTI

COVID-19: Schools in Pune district to remain shut for Classes 1 to 8 till January 30

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday said the administration has decided to shut schools for Classes 1 to 8 in Pune district till January 30 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Speaking to reporters after attending the review meeting of the COVID-19 situation, Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of the district, said teaching in online mode will continue. -PTI

DDA suspends all physical public hearings amid rising Covid cases

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) said on Tuesday that all physical public hearings at its offices have been suspended with immediate effect to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection.

"As a preventive measure to contain the spread of novel coronavirus all offline, public hearings in DDA offices are suspended with immediate effect till further notice," the urban body said in a statement. -PTI

Centre by August 24 released 50% funds earmarked for States under ECRP phase II: Health Ministry

The Health Ministry on Tuesday said it had by August 24 last year released 50% of the funds earmarked for States under ‘ECRP phase II’ to support them in Covid preparedness and prevention, dismissing a media report that claimed 26.14% of the funds were provided.

India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package – Phase-II is a centrally sponsored scheme to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the ongoing pandemic and strengthen the national health systems for emergency response and preparedness across the country. -PTI

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