India reports 90,928 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours

495 more Omicron infections; Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh among nine States asked to ramp up testing

India reported 90,928 new COVID-19 cases, the highest in over 200 days, taking India’s caseload to 3,51,09,286, according to a statement released by the Union Health Ministry on Thursday morning.

The number of active cases stands at 2,85,401, which makes up 0.81% of the total infections, the statement said. The active case load went up by 71,397 cases in 24 hours. The daily positivity rate stood at 6.43 %

The day also saw India record the biggest single-day jump of 495 Omicron cases, taking the total number of infections of the new SARS CoV2 variant to 2,630, according to Union Health Ministry data.

Maharashtra continues to record the maximum number of cases at 797, followed by Delhi at 465, Rajasthan 236, Kerala 280, Karnataka 226, Gujarat 204 and Tamil Nadu 121.

Meanwhile, the Centre has urged nine States and Union Territories to ramp up COVID-19 testing to ensure that infected people do not spread the virus.

In a letter to Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar, Additional Secretary of Union Health Ministry Arti Ahuja pointed out a considerable decline in COVID-19 testing amid rising cases and positivity rate, and said it is a “cause of concern”.

In the absence of sufficient testing, the true level of infection spread in the community would not be revealed, Ms. Ahuja said in her letter dated January 5. States have been asked to review and ensure availability of sufficient stock of testing reagents and kits etc., and regular arrangement of testing facilities, consumables, and logistics.

The Centre has also asked States to collate daily status report of all patients under home isolation in their respective jurisdictions and submit it to the district administrations. The control rooms at district and sub-district levels must have real-time data on the availability of COVID testing centres and ambulances, and should be able to guide a caller on the process for availing these services.

The control rooms must have adequate number of doctors, counsellors and volunteers as well as computers and uninterrupted broadband connectivity, the official said.

On Thursday, Gujarat recorded 4213 COVID-19 cases, which took the tally of active cases to 14,346. There are 28 patients on ventilator support. So far, a total of 204 Omicron cases have been reported from Gujarat.

Odisha recorded its first Omicron virus variant-related death on Thursday in Balangir district, where a 45-year-old woman died while under COVID-19 treatment.

The COVID-19 graph again registered a sharp rise in the State, with 1,897 new cases being reported. Odisha now has 5,739 active cases. Khordha district reported 669 COVID-19 cases, accounting for 35% of State’s total cases.

In the capital city of Bhubaneswar, which is part of Khordha, 14 containment zones were declared, following the detection of case clusters.

Andhra Pradesh reported 547 new infections, the highest single-day tally in the past 71 days, as updated at 9 a.m. on Thursday, taking the active case load to 2,266. One new death was also reported

Karnataka on Thursday reported 5,031 new cases of COVID-19, Bengaluru Urban alone accounting for 4,324 cases. One death was also reported. Karnataka has reported a total of 226 Omicron cases so far.

Kerala reported 4,649 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. Fifty more Omicron cases have also been confirmed, taking the total number of Omicron cases detected so far in the State to 280.

While the active case pool has shown a rising trend, hospitalisations and ICU occupancy have remained steady. Only 2,372 out of the 25,157 active cases are currently being treated for COVID in hospitals across the State.

In Assam, 844 new cases were detected on Thursday when 35,562 people were tested for COVID-19. Two new deaths have also been added to the State’s COVID toll. The current test positivity rate is 2.37%.

Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday reported 32 new COVID-19 cases, nine more than the previous day, with the tally rising to 55,407, a health department official said. Arunachal Pradesh now has 75 active cases.

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