Coronavirus updates | January 15, 2022

A man gives nasal swab for RT-PCR testing at a dispensary in Bhubaneswar. File image.   | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

India registered 2,68,833 new Covid infections in a day taking the tally to 3,68,50,962. A total of 6,041 Omicron cases have been detected so far, an increase of 5.01% since Friday

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:

West Bengal

Bengal extends COVID-19 restrictions till Jan 31; allows fairs, marriage functions

The West Bengal government on Saturday extended the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions till January 31, allowing fairs on open grounds in a very restricted manner with strict adherence to safety norms, an official order said.

The state government also allowed marriage functions with a maximum of 200 attendees or 50 % of the venue's capacity, whichever is lesser, it said.

"Restrictions and relaxation measures and advisory as already stand extended up to 31/01/2022. Marriage-related functions with a maximum of 200 people at a time or 50 % seating capacity of the hall/venue whichever is lower. Mela/fair may be allowed in open air venues in a very restricted manner, following COVID-19 protocols," the order issued by Chief Secretary H.K. Dwivedi said. - PTI

Indian Super League

ISL | COVID-hit ATK Mohun Bagan's match against Bengaluru FC too postponed

With a surge in COVID-19 cases inside the bio-bubble here, ATK Mohun Bagan's Indian Super league match against Bengaluru FC was postponed, hours before their kickoff here on Saturday.

This was their second successive fixture to be postponed. It was only last Saturday that ATKMB's match against Odisha FC had to be postponed after an unnamed player reported positive for COVID-19.

"Hero Indian Super League (ISL) announces the postponement of the match between ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC scheduled to be played on Saturday at PJN Stadium, Fatorda," ATKMB said in a statement.

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Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh government bans visitors from meeting jail inmates till March-end

In view of the rising cases of COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh, the state government has banned visitors from meeting prison inmates till the end of March this year in an attempt to prevent the spread of infection.

An order to this effect was an issued by the state jail department on Friday.

"In a bid to prevent the spread of the pandemic inside the prisons, the visits of friends, family members and acquaintances of jail inmates will remain banned till March 31. The jail inmates will continue to avail the facility of e-meeting (through video calls) and incoming phone calls," the order read.

From November 1 last year, visitors were allowed to meet the inmates of jails in the state after a decline in coronavirus cases.- PTI

National

India logs 2,68,833 Covid cases, 402 deaths in a day; Omicron tally rises to 6,041

India registered 2,68,833 new Covid infections in a day taking the tally to 3,68,50,962, which includes 6,041 Omicron variant cases, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Saturday.

With 402 more deaths, the number of people who have succumbed to the viral disease has risen to 4,85,752. The case fatality rate was 1.32 per cent.

A total of 6,041 Omicron cases have been detected so far, an increase of 5.01% since Friday, the data updated at 8.00 a.m showed.

The daily positivity rate was 16.66% while the weekly positivity rate was 12.84%.

Active cases have increased to 14,17,820, the highest in around 223 days, and comprise 3.85% of the total infections.- PTI

Jammu and Kashmir

Weekend restrictions back in J-K amid surge in COVID-19 cases

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday imposed "complete restriction on non-essential movement" during weekends in the Union Territory amid a surge in Covid cases that rose by 2,456 a day earlier.

Announcing the decision of the State Executive Committee (SEC), which met under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary A K Mehta, officials said night curfew and online mode of teaching in schools and colleges will continue.

The order said vaccinated people will be allowed entry to parks after due verification.

The SEC however reiterated that gathering of 25 people at any indoor or outdoor function or gathering up to 25 vaccinated people or 25% of the authorised capacity, whichever is less, preferably in open spaces at banquet halls will be allowed.

Cinema halls, theatres, multiplexes, restaurants, clubs, gymnasiums and swimming pools are permitted to continue operation at 25 per cent of the authorised capacity.- PTI

Mexico

Mexico approves emergency use of Pfizer's COVID-19 pills

Mexican health regulator COFEPRIS said on Friday, January 15, 2022, it had approved U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer's antiviral oral treatment against COVID-19 for emergency use in adults with light or moderate risk of complications.

Paxlovid, which combines nirmatrelvir and ritonavir in a tablet, will require a prescription, it said in a statement.

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U.S.A.

U.S. households can order 4 free COVID-19 tests starting January 19

U.S. households can order four free at-home COVID-19 tests from the website COVIDTests.gov starting on Jan. 19 with shipping expected within seven to 12 days of ordering, the White House said on Friday.

The batch of free tests are aimed at easing a shortage of COVID-19 tests across the country amid increased demand during the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

The U.S. government has contracted already for more than 420 million tests, the White House said.- Reuters

International

EMA lists rare spinal condition as side effect of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot

A safety panel of the European drug regulator on Friday recommended adding a rare spinal inflammation called transverse myelitis as a side effect of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine has faced several setbacks, including production delays, probes by regulators following rare cases of severe side effects such as blood clots with low platelets, which led to several countries restricting or stopping its use.

The European Medicines Agency's safety committee also reiterated its recommendation of a similar warning to be included for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine.- Reuters

Uttar Pradesh

FIR lodged against Samajwadi Party workers for violation of COVID-19 norms

The incharge of Gautam Palli police station was suspended and clarification sought from two senior officials after a massive crowd gathered at the Samajwadi Party office here on Friday, in violation of COVID-19 norms, for the joining-in function of two rebel ministers and some MLAs.

An FIR against 2,500 unknown Samajwadi Party activists was also registered at the police station in this connection.

Taking cognisance of the Lucknow district magistrate's report about the violation of the Model Code of Conduct on Covid norms, directives were issued to place Gautam Palli police station in-charge Dinesh Singh Bisht into suspension with immediate effect, an official statement issued by the office of the UP Chief Electoral Officer said.

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National

India proposed air bubble to South Korea in July 2021; waiting for its response: Scindia

The Indian government had proposed an air bubble to the South Korean government in July last year and the Centre has been waiting for its response, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Friday.

Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020 in view of the Covid pandemic.

However, special flights have been operating between India and around 40 countries since July 2020 on the basis of air bubble arrangements formed with them.

Congress Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor said on Twitter that some 8,000 Indians living in South Korea are protesting the absence of an air bubble between the two countries.- PTI

U.S.A.

As Omicron fuels surge, U.S. students stage walkouts to protest in-person classes

Students in Boston and Chicago planned walkouts on Friday to pressure officials to switch to remote learning, as a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant disrupts schools around the United States.

An online petition started by a Boston high school senior saying schools are a "COVID-19 breeding ground" and calling for a remote option had gathered more than 8,000 signatures as of Friday morning.

Nearly 5,000 public schools across the country have closed for at least one day this week due to the pandemic, according to Burbio, a website that tracks school disruptions, leaving exhausted parents scrambling to navigate a patchwork of COVID-19 policies.

Overall, the United States is still tallying nearly 800,000 new infections a day and record levels of hospitalized patients with COVID-19.- Reuters

Harayana

Unvaccinated children won't be allowed to enter schools: Haryana govt.

Children in the age group of 15-18 years who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter schools, when they reopen, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said on Friday.

Schools in the State are currently shut in view of big surge in coronavirus cases in the past fortnight.

The Minister issued the instruction during a meeting with officials to review the current COVID-19 situation in the state.

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National

Physical campaign: EC to decide on extending ban on Saturday

The Election Commission will meet on Saturday, January 17, 2022, to take a call on whether to extend beyond January 15 the ban on public rallies, roadshows and corner meetings in five poll-bound States in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision will be taken based on inputs about the spread of the virus and its new variant Omicron, sources said.

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New Delhi

Auto tippers deployed by SDMC to lift bio-medical waste from Covid patients' houses

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has deployed auto tippers in all its wards to lift bio-medical waste from houses of Covid patients and also issued helpline numbers for each zone, the civic body said on Friday.

Nearly 750 kilograms of bio-medical waste has been collected this month so far, it said in a statement SDMC Mayor Mukesh Suryan said that the civic body has made special arrangements to lift bio-medical waste from homes of Covid positive patients.

“The SDMC has deployed auto-tippers in all 104 wards to lift bio-medical waste. These vehicles will collect bio-medical waste from homes of Covid positive patients and will transport that to the Okhla waste-to-energy plant for proper disposal,” he said.- PTI

Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh: Minister, Shimla MP among 1,975 new COVID-19 cases

Himachal Pradesh Education Minister Govind Singh Thakur and Shimla MP Suresh Kashyap are among 1,975 fresh COVID-19 cases recorded on Friday that took the state's infection tally to 2,40,330, while one more death pushed the toll to 3,872, a health official said.

In separate social media posts, Thakur and Kashyap stated that they have tested positive for coronavirus and urged their recent contacts to get themselves tested.

A Shimla police official stated that in the last one week, samples of 668 personnel were collected and 71 of them have tested coronavirus positive and are in home isolation.- PTI

West Bengal

Calcutta High Court urges State Election Commission to postpone civic polls

The Calcutta High Court has urged the West Bengal State Election Commission to postpone the proposed elections to four municipal corporations for a period of four to six weeks.

“Hence, we dispose of the present petition with a direction to the State Election Commission to consider the galloping speed with which the COVID-19 cases are increasing and also to take into account the issue if holding of elections in such a situation will be in the public interest, and if free and fair elections will be possible on the dates notified, and take a decision in respect of the postponement of date of elections of aforesaid four municipal corporations for a short period of 4 to 6 weeks,” an order by Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 3:47:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-live-updates-january-15-2022/article38272520.ece

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