Coronavirus updates | December 25, 2021

India to vaccinate 15-18 age group from January 3, says PM Modi; frontline workers, those above 60 with comorbidities eligible for booster doses from January 10.

Updated - December 25, 2021 11:33 pm IST

Published - December 25, 2021 08:14 am IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on December 25, 2021. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on December 25, 2021. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an address to the nation , has announced COVID-19 vaccination for the 15-18 age group from January 3. “Frontline workers and those above 60 with comorbidities are eligible for booster doses from January 10,” he added.

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:


New Delhi


PM Modi addresses the nation on COVID-19 situation  

“My dear countrymen, wishing you a very merry Christmas.

“We are in the last week of the year,  2022 is just around.

“All of you are ready to welcome 2022, but along with enthusiasm one needs to be cautious as the new variant of Coronavirus , Omicron has created concern.

“There are cases in India too.

“I would ask you not to panic but remain alert about use of mask , hand washing.

“As the virus mutates our abilities to fight the virus is also growing.

“18 lakh beds, 5 lakh oxygen supported beds... 90,000 beds only for children... 30,000 PSA oxygen plants are there.

“Medicines and testing kits are also being distributed widely to states.

“The experience of fighting Corona shows first thing to do is to observe caution and the second is vaccinations.

“We were alert to this need for vaccinations , on research, approval system and certification et al.

“It was a result of that, that India had started its vaccination on January 16th. We have crossed the figure for 141.1 crore vaccinated mark.

“Almost 90% of eligible population has had at least one dose. It’s a matter of pride that we had such an efficient vaccination programme and on such a scale.

“It’s a sign of the strength of our health systems, our medical personnel and team work delivery.

“Very soon we will have a nasal vaccine, and for the first time in the world, a DNA based vaccine.

“Our vaccines and their approvals have been based on scientific process.

“We all know however that Corona hasn’t gone, therefore there is need for caution.

“When vaccination started the eligibility criteria was scientifically determined.

“The gap between doses was also scientifically determined and it helped stabilise our situation.

“Currently, omicron is being discussed, and there are varied opinions on its progress and treatment.

“At the 11 month point of our vaccination drive, some decisions were taken.

“Today is Atalji’s birthday,

“Children between 15-18 will be eligible for vaccination from January 3.  This will help us protect our school going children and help their parents too.

“Our Corona warriors have been at the forefront of the fight against the disease. They will get booster dose, from January 10. Aged people (above 60 with comorbidities) will also be eligible for booster from January 10.

“We must avoid fear mongering. The way we as a nation took forward the vaccination programme we have to do so again.


Central teams deployed in 10 States reporting high Omicron cases, slow vaccination

Multi-disciplinary central teams have been deployed in 10 States which are reporting either an increasing number of Omicron and COVID-19 cases or a slow vaccination pace, according to a Union Health Ministry office memorandum.

As per the document, these 10 States are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Mizoram, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Punjab.



India's Omicron tally rises to 415

A total of 415 cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected in India so far, out of which 115 have recovered or migrated, according to the Union Health Ministry's data updated on Saturday.

Maharashtra has recorded a maximum of 108 Omicron cases, followed by Delhi at 79, Gujarat 43, Telangana 38, Kerala 37, Tamil Nadu 34 and Karnataka 31.

India's Covid tally rose to 3,47,79,815 with 7,189 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, while the active cases have declined to 77,032, according to the data updated at 8 a.m.

The death toll climbed to 4,79,520 with 387 more fatalities, the data showed.

The daily rise in new coronavirus cases has been recorded below 15,000 for the last 58 days now.

The active cases have declined to 77,032 comprising 0.22% of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.40%, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said.

A decrease of 484 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.65% It has been less than two per cent for the last 82 days.

The weekly positivity rate was also recorded at 0.60%. It has been below one per cent for the last 41 days, according to the Health Ministry. - PTI


BMC bans New Year celebration parties, gatherings in closed or open spaces

In view of the spike in coronavirus cases and the growing threat of the Omicron variant, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has banned New Year celebration programmes and gatherings in any closed or open areas in the city.

Mumbai municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal issued an order to this effect late Friday evening.

The order came into effect from the midnight of December 25 and shall remain in force till the next directive. The order is applicable to all hotels, bars, restaurants as well as to privately-owned places that could be used for such gatherings and celebrations. - PTI


No new restrictions on account of Omicron variant in T.N.

The Tamil Nadu government has decided not to impose any fresh restriction in view of the emergence of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus. It will continue with the existing curbs till December 31.


Harris tests negative for Coronavirus after close contact

Vice President Kamala Harris tested negative Friday for the Coronavirus following her close contact earlier this week with an aide who later tested positive, her office said.

Ms. Harris, who is spending the holidays in Los Angeles, had tested negative Wednesday after she was told that the aide who had accompanied her throughout the day Tuesday had tested positive.

Her office said she would be tested again Friday. A pair of tests — a rapid test and a more sensitive laboratory test — found no trace of the coronavirus, her office said.

Ms. Harris is fully vaccinated, has received a booster COVID-19 vaccine dose and is regularly tested under White House COVID-19 protocols. She is to be tested again on Monday. - AP


100% of eligible population given first dose, says Kejriwal

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the Capital has taken a monumental step in the fight against COVID-19 by administering the first dose of vaccine to 100% of its eligible population.

According to Mr. Kejriwal, 148.33 lakh citizens had been vaccinated with at least one dose so far and more than 1.035 crore people had taken the second dose. He saluted all the healthcare and front-line workers for their contribution to this cause.


Amid Omicron scare, Haryana imposes night curfew

Amid COVID variant Omicron scare, the Haryana government on Friday announced imposition of night curfew between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. from December 25.

The restrictions would be in place till January 5, 2022.



Mamata prays for well-being of all on occasion of Christmas, asks revellers to follow COVID norms

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attended the midnight mass at a prominent church in the city on Friday and prayed for the well-being of one and all.

She later took to social media and urged everyone to maintain COVID-19 protocols amid the festivities.

"I pray to the God for the safety and well being of everyone. The warm glow of festive lights and smiling faces everywhere filled my heart with joy. As we celebrate I urge everyone to maintain all COVID protocols. Wear a mask at all times and use hand sanitizers," she posted on Facebook.

"Merry Christmas to all my brothers and sisters across the world. From Vatican to Goa to Meghalaya to Kolkata- enjoy the festive season and make happy memories," the TMC boss added.

Interestingly, the TMC is making its foray into Goa and Meghalaya, the two States which found a mention in her tweet. Both Goa and Meghalaya have a sizeable Christian population. - PTI


8 new Omicron cases in Kerala, State's first patient infected by new variant recovers

Eight more cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus were detected in Kerala on Friday, taking the total number of infected people to 37, Health Minister Veena George said.

One person each from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, two each from Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts have been detected with the new variant of the virus.

Meanwhile, the first Omicron positive patient aged 39 has been discharged from hospital.

The Health department said a 48-year-old foreigner who reached Thiruvananthapuram from Russia, a Kollam native (40) who reached Ernakulam from Namibia, an Alappuzha native (28) who reached Ernakulam from Qatar were among those who were found infected with the new variant.

Another Alappuzha native (40) who reached Ernakulam from Qatar, a three-year-old girl who reached Ernakulam from the United Kingdom, a 25-year-old Ernakulam native who came from UAE, a Thrissur native (48) from Kenya and another Thrissur native (71) who was in the primary contact list of a patient are among those who were confirmed with the new variant.

"The three-year-old came from the UK along with her parents. Her parents were tested negative on arrival at the airport. They were under home quarantine. The tests were done after the child started showing symptoms," the health department said in a release. - PTI


Delhi government orders Sarojini Nagar market to operate on odd-even basis on Dec 25-26

The Delhi government on Friday allowed Sarojini Nagar market to operate on odd-even basis over the weekend in view of the large footfalls seen in the market in the last few days.

"And whereas, increasing footfalls are seen in Sarojini Nagar market during last few days; and therefore with the need to control the same in light of the rapid spike in daily cases and positivity; it was decided unanimously by all Market Trade Associations in the meeting held on 24 December 2021, to follow odd-even operations for weekend of 25 & 26 December 2021," read the government order. - PTI


Outbreak recorded on Florida-based cruise ship

A COVID-19 outbreak has been recorded on a South Florida-based cruise ship, as the number of coronavirus cases in Florida has hit its second-highest level since the start of the pandemic.

An undisclosed number of passengers and crew aboard the Carnival Freedom caught the virus and the ship was denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba, Carnival said in a statement.

The ship has 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members and was scheduled to return to Miami on Sunday following an 8-day cruise. Passengers were required to be vaccinated and they were tested before leaving last Saturday, according to Carnival.

“Carnival Freedom is following all protocols and has a small number on board who are in isolation due to a positive COVID test,” the statement said. “Our protocols anticipate this possibility and we implement them as necessary.” It was the third outbreak this week affecting cruise ships operated by Carnival and Royal Caribbean departing Miami and Fort Lauderdale ports. - AP


UK records 122,186 COVID cases amid ‘glimmer of Christmas hope’

The UK on Friday recorded another daily COVID-19 infection high at 122,186, up from 119,789 cases the previous day, as experts pointed to a “glimmer of Christmas hope” after studies showed that the Omicron variant is much less severe than the previously dominant Delta variant.

In additional data released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), 1.74 million people in the UK had coronavirus on December 19, up by more than 368,000 on the figure three days earlier. This equates to 2.7 per cent of the population or one in 35 people. In London, that figure is even higher at one in 20, driven by the rapidly transmissible Omicron variant.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which released a detailed analysis of real world Omicron data on Thursday, said its findings offer some hope but the additional burden on the National Health Service (NHS) due to staff COVID positive tests continues to be a strain. - PTI


Vaccines mandatory for using various facilities in Rajasthan from Feb 1

COVID-19 vaccination will be made mandatory for entering and using facilities at various places in Rajasthan from February 1 next year, officials said on Friday.

The decision was taken at a meeting in which Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held detailed discussions with divisional commissioners, district collectors, principals of medical colleges and health officials through video conferencing about the COVID-19 situation in the State.

The Chief Minister also directed the officials to ensure strict compliance of various measures like wearing face mask and social distancing from the first week of January. - PTI



DTC to procure 15 tankers for transportation of medical oxygen

The Delhi Transport Corporation on Friday approved the procurement of 15 tankers for transportation of medical oxygen amid rising COVID-19 cases and Omicron threat.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) board chaired by Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot.- PTI


Man found omicron-positive after returning to Kolkata from Ireland

A 24-year-old man who returned from Ireland to Kolkata was on Friday found to be infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus, health officials said.At present, West Bengal has three omicron patients who are undergoing treatment, they said.

The patient is undergoing treatment in an isolated room in the restricted COVID unit of the hospital since his admission, said an official from the Health Department. "The patient is haemodynamically stable and relevant conservative medical management is going on," he added. - PTI


World witnessing 4th COVID surge: Government cautions people against lowering guard

Noting the world is witnessing a fourth surge in Covid cases, the government on Friday cautioned people against lowering the guard, particularly during year-end festivities, even as it underlined that infection due to Omicron does not necessarily lead to severe symptomatic disease.

Addressing a joint press conference, ICMR Director-General Dr. Balram Bhargava said Delta continues to be the predominant strain in India, including in the recently identified clusters."Therefore, we need to continue with the same strategy of following Covid-appropriate behaviour and ramping up vaccination," he said. - PTI


US to lift travel ban on 8 southern African countries

The US will lift travel restrictions to eight southern African countries on New Year's Eve, the White House announced Friday.The restrictions, imposed last month, were meant to blunt the spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant.The November 29 ban barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who had recently been in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. - PTI

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