India confirms first Omicron-related death as Covid-19 cases jump
– World Affairs SRS
As of Wednesday, there were 214,004 active Covid19 cases in the country, and 58,097 new cases were reported on January 5. The health ministry said 43 districts in India are now reporting weekly positivity between 5 per cent and 10 per cent.
The 73-year-old man died at a hospital in Udaipur last week due to covid pneumonia, along with ailments such as diabetes and hypertension.
The man had tested positive for Covid-19 on December 15 and was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of fever, cough and rhinitis. He had tested negative twice – December 21 and December 25. The results of genome sequencing of his sample now showed that he was infected with the Omicron variant.
Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said at a press conference here on Wednesday that the death from Udaipur was “technically” related to Omicron.
As cases continued to rise across the country, many state governments were forced to issue new guidelines on restrictions.
Cases rose by 58 per cent in Tamil Nadu in a 24-hour period, forcing the state government to come up with new guidelines, including Sunday’s lockdown, night curfew starting Thursday, among others. Creating panic, over 45 students at the Madras Institute of Technology tested positive, forcing the management to call off classes till January 28.
Cases in Delhi almost doubled to 10,665 on Wednesday, with the daily positivity rate reaching 11.88 per cent. The number of critical patients on ventilators also increased from 14 to 22 on Tuesday. The Delhi government said there would be no lockdown in the national capital at this time and construction work would continue. “The workers need not panic. Some restrictions are needed to ensure public health,” said Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.
This is the fifth wave to hit Delhi. Jain also said that there was no longer any need to do genome sequencing of all the samples and that it was just a research process to see if Omicron was spreading in the society. A Delhi government statement said that out of 418 beds made available to patients yesterday, 308 did not require any additional medical assistance, showing mild symptoms.
The statement also said that 531 corona virus infected patients have been admitted to hospitals. “When the cases were similar in number, the bed occupancy rate was 15 per cent in the previous wave of corona, which is around 3 per cent in the present situation.”
Mumbai also continued to contain the spike in fresh cases – 15166 new cases were reported in the city on Wednesday, leading to 1218 new hospitalizations in the city. About 15 percent (14.4 percent) of Mumbai’s Covid beds are now occupied. City civic body BMC commissioner IS Chahal has said, “I will not see restrictions like new lockdown till 20,000 hospital beds are occupied, the current hospitalization rate is less than 5%”.
While Mumbai is not looking towards an immediate lockdown, Tamil Nadu will start the lockdown from Sunday, January 9.
While restaurants are allowed to serve food between 7 am and 10 pm on lockdown days, all other non-essential activities will remain prohibited. As per the decision, curfew will be imposed from 10 pm to 5 am on working days from Thursday. However, shopping malls, businesses, shops, restaurants are allowed to operate during the lockdown. However, only essential activities will be allowed during this night curfew.
Karnataka’s Health Minister K Sudhakar said Bengaluru’s positivity rate rose to 6.45 per cent on Wednesday with 3,605 new cases. The city accounts for 85 percent of Karnataka’s cases. While the state’s figure has almost doubled to 4,246 in 24 hours, the total number of omicron cases in the state is 226.
Amid rising Covid-19 cases, the state government on Tuesday imposed fresh restrictions in Karnataka. As per the new guidelines, the weekend curfew will remain in force in the state for the next two weeks from 10 pm on Friday to 5 am on Monday.
West Bengal on Wednesday added 14,022 new Covid cases as the state’s positivity rate reached 23.17 per cent. Kolkata recorded 6,170 cases.
Amid rising COVID cases, the West Bengal government on Wednesday postponed the 27th Kolkata Film Festival to be held between January 7 -14, 2022.
With inputs from Deepshekhar Choudhary and Ishita Ayan Dutt
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