India recorded 5,326 new cases of coronavirus infections, the lowest in 581 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,47,52,164, while the active cases declined to 79,097, the lowest in 574 days .
Here are the updates:
BMC issues fresh guidelines
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation issues fresh guidelines restricting indoor events at 50% of the capacity while outdoor events to be held with 25% capacity of the venue.
In case of any event where total attendance is crossing 200 mark even after following norms should be held with prior permission from Assistant Commissioner of concerned municipal ward.- Alok Deshpande
New Zealand announces measures to keep out omicron variant
New Zealand will shorten the gap between second COVID-19 vaccine doses and boosters and push back the phased reopening of its borders in measures announced Tuesday to keep the omicron variant at bay.
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkin told reporters the government has agreed to a “suite of precautionary measures” in light of the threat posed by the omicron strain of the coronavirus.
The gap between a second vaccine dose and a booster will be shortened from six to four months, meaning 82 percent of vaccinated New Zealanders will be due for a booster by February.
New Zealand’s strict border regulations so far have been successful in keeping omicron from spreading in the community. The only cases reported so far have been in travelers who are in managed isolation and quarantine.- AP
Two hundred Omicron cases reported in India so far, 5,326 new COVID-19 cases
Two hundred cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected in India so far out of which 77 patients have recovered or migrated, the Union Health Ministry said on December 21. Maharashtra and Delhi have recorded 54 cases of Omicron variant each, while Telangana registered 20 cases, Karnataka 19, Rajasthan 18, Kerala 15 and Gujarat 14 cases.
The Ministry data updated on Tuesday also stated that India recorded 5,326 new cases of coronavirus infections, the lowest in 581 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,47,52,164, while the active cases declined to 79,097, the lowest in 574 days .
First cases of Omicron reported in Odisha
Two foreign returnees are found to have been infected with the Omicron variant following genomic sequencing of their samples, said Ajay Parida, Director of Institute of Life Science, Bhubaneswar. These are first cases of Omicron reported in Odisha.- Satya Sundar Barik
Omicron becomes dominant variant in U.S.
Omicron has raced ahead of other variants and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said Monday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers showed nearly a six-fold increase in omicron's share of infections in only one week.
In much of the country, it's even higher.
New Zealand delays border re-opening plans over Omicron concerns
New Zealand on Tuesday postponed its phased border re-opening plans until the end of February citing the rapid global spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The South Pacific nation had just started easing some of the world's toughest pandemic measures and its international border restrictions were to progressively loosen from January, with all foreign tourists allowed into the country from April.
Non-quarantine travel, which was to have opened for New Zealanders in Australia from Jan. 16, would be pushed back until the end of February, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said at a press conference in Wellington.
"All of the evidence so far points to Omicron being the most transmissible COVID-19 variant yet.
U.S. records first death believed related to Omicron variant
Health officials in Texas said the state recorded the first death related to the Omicron COVID-19 variant, ABC News reported on Monday.
It is believed to be the first known recorded Omicron death in the United States, ABC said in its report, citing Harris County health officials.
The victim was a man in his 50s, who was unvaccinated and had underlying health conditions, the report said.- Reuters
Omicron spreading and infecting the vaccinated- WHO
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading faster than the Delta variant and is causing infections in people already vaccinated or who have recovered from the COVID-19 disease, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
"There is now consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing for Geneva-based journalists, held at its new headquarters building.
"And it is more likely people vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 could be infected or re-infected," Mr. Tedros said.- Reuters
Report on vaccine effectiveness against Omicron in a week: Union Health Minister
A report on the effectiveness of the available vaccines in the country against the Omicron variant of COVID-19 would be available in a week, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
He made the observation while replying to a “short duration discussion on the situation arising out of Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in the country.”
EU approves 5th COVID-19 vaccine for bloc, one by Novavax
The European Union's drugs regulator gave the green light Monday to a fifth COVID-19 vaccine for use in the 27-nation bloc, granting conditional marketing authorization to the two-dose vaccine made by US biotech company Novavax.
The European Medicines Agency decision to recommend granting conditional marketing authorization for the vaccine for people aged 18 and over, which must be confirmed by the EU's executive commission, comes as many European nations are battling surges in infections and amid concerns about the spread of the new omicron variant.
Novavax says it currently is testing how its shots will hold up against the omicron variant, and like other manufacturers has begun formulating an updated version to better match that variant in case in case it's eventually needed.- AP
WEF defers Davos Annual Meeting 2022 due to Omicron outbreak
The World Economic Forum on Monday said it has decided to defer its Annual Meeting 2022 in the Swiss Alpine ski resort town of Davos in the light of continued uncertainty over the Omicron outbreak.
The Annual Meeting, which was scheduled to take place in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland between January 17-21, 2022, is now planned for early summer.
In a statement on deferring the 2022 meeting to early summer, the WEF said participants will instead join a headline series of 'State of the World' sessions bringing together global leaders online to focus on shaping solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.
"Current pandemic conditions make it extremely difficult to deliver a global in-person meeting. Preparations have been guided by expert advice and have benefited from the close collaboration of the Swiss government at all levels," it said.- PTI
Bharat Biotech seeks DCGI nod for phase-3 study of intra-nasal Covid vaccine as booster dose
Bharat Biotech has sought permission from India's drug regulator to conduct a phase-3 study for its intra-nasal COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose on participants vaccinated with Covishield or Covaxin, official sources said on Monday.
India is yet to approve the use of the intranasal vaccine BBV154 developed by the Hyderabad-based company.
The company had in August received the Drug Controller General of India's (DCGI's) nod for conducting phase 2 clinical trials of the nasal vaccine.
The company reports that the doses of the vaccine administered to healthy volunteers in the phase-1 clinical trial have been well tolerated. No serious adverse events were reported, the DBT had said.- PTI