Coronavirus updates | January 2, 2022

Health worker collecting swab from travelers for the COVID-19 test, at KSRTC Kempegowda bus stand, in Bengaluru on January 1, 2022

Health worker collecting swab from travelers for the COVID-19 test, at KSRTC Kempegowda bus stand, in Bengaluru on January 1, 2022 | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR. K

India reported 22,775 COVID-19 cases on January 1 when for the first time the number of daily cases had crossed the 20,000 mark since October. In all, 1,431 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in the country. Maharashtra topped the list with 460 cases, Delhi 351, Tamil Nadu 121 and Gujarat 136 cases as of January 1.

Read | IISc: Testing hypotheses to guide COVID-19 vaccine, booster protocols

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 :


Amid spike in COVID-19, CM Bommai seeks people's cooperation to avoid lockdown

Amid spike in COVID-19 cases in Karnataka and its borders, Chief Minister of the State Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday asked people to cooperate with the government in containing the spread of the disease and avoid lockdown.

He said the officials of districts bordering Maharashtra have directed to be extra-cautious as the neighbouring State is witnessing a spurt in cases.

"Our stand is very clear. In the past, lockdown was imposed. The same should not happen again. For this, we are taking stringent measures. People have to cooperate with us," Mr. Bommai told reporters.

Regarding extending night curfew or imposing tough rules, he said it would be decided on either on Monday or Tuesday.

"We have to see how coronavirus is. We saw it increasing in a big way in Bengaluru. We will take a call keeping that in mind," he said. - PTI


Messi among 4 PSG players who test positive for COVID-19

Seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi is among four players in the Paris Saint-Germain squad to have tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the team's French Cup game on Monday night.

PSG added that one staff member also had COVID-19 in a statement on Saturday night. None of them were named at that point, but in a further statement on the team's medical news Sunday the club named Messi, left back Juan Bernat, backup goalie Sergio Rico and 19-year-old midfielder Nathan Bitumazala. - AP



Schools to remain closed in Patna for a week

Schools were on Sunday ordered to remain closed for the week in the Bihar capital which has been hit by the double whammy of an intense cold wave and a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.

The order of Chandrashekhar Singh, District Magistrate, Patna, which came a day before the scheduled rollout of vaccination for adolescents aged 15 and above, exempts Classes 9 and upwards.

"It has been made to appear to me that due to the cold weather and low temperature prevailing particularly in the morning, life and health of children is at risk", Mr. Singh said in his order whereby academic activities have been suspended for all private and government schools, up to Class 8, till January 8. - PTI

West Bengal

Bengal shuts schools, colleges; offices allowed with 50% workforce

The West Bengal government on Sunday announced closure of all academic institutions and imposed restrictions on local train and metro services in the wake of a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections.

It said all State government and private establishments should work with 50% of employees at a time and encourage work from home.

“Swimming pools, spas, gyms, beauty parlours, saloons and wellness centres shall remain closed. All entertainment parks, zoos and tourist places shall remain closed.”

The government also imposed curbs on the metro and local train services.


With new COVID-19 cases breaching 1,000 mark in state, K'taka govt mulls tough rules

With the sudden spike in daily COVID-19 cases in Karnataka and the new infections breaching the 1,000 mark on Saturday, a state minister indicated that the government is mulling 'tough rules'.

The government has imposed night curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. till January 7 in order to check the spread of the disease.

"We will convene a meeting and announce some tough rules before January 7 when the night curfew will be lifted," Karnataka Revenue Minister R. Ashoka told reporters.

Elaborating, Mr. Ashoka said a government panel on COVID-19 in which he, Higher Education Minister Dr. C.N. Ashwath Narayan and Health Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar are part of would convene a meeting before January 7. - PTI

West Bengal

COVID-19 positivity rate over 12% in West Bengal

West Bengal registered a sharp rise in the COVID-19 infections on Saturday with the State registering 4,512 fresh cases of infection in the past 24 hours. The COVID-19 infections in Kolkata crossed 2,000 as the city recorded 2,398 fresh infections. The case positivity ratio in the State on Saturday climbed to 12.02%. Along with Kolkata districts of North 24 Parganas and Howrah recorded high number of fresh infections

The positivity rate in West Bengal on December 31 was 8.46% when it had recorded 3,451 new cases of COVID-19 infection. Kolkata had recorded 1,954 cases of infection. The case positivity rate on December 25 was only 1.71 % when the number of new infections was only 552.



Odisha withholds decision to reopen schools for Classes 1 to 5

Amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, the Odisha government on Sunday said that it was withholding its decision to reopen schools for students of Classes 1 to 5 from Monday.

School and mass education minister S R Dash, in a statement, said the decision was taken after officials visited various primary schools across the state and held discussions with tthe stakeholders.

"Keeping in view the rise in number of daily cases and based on the feedback provided by parents across the state, we have decided not to reopen schools for students of Classes 1 to 5 from January 3," he stated. -PTI


Vaishno Devi University in J-K's Reai closed after 13 students found Covid positive

Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi have ordered closure of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University till further orders after 13 students tested positive for COVID-19, officials said on Sunday.

The decision to close the university located at Kakriyal near Katra town, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine, was taken to contain the spread and ensure safety of the students and general public, an order issued by Reasi District Magistrate Charandeep Singh said.

The order said the screening for COVID-19 was conducted at the university on December 31, 2021 and January 1, during which a total of 13 students have tested positive. -PTI


Ladakh records 23 new COVID-19 cases

Ladakh's Covid tally rose to 22,207 on Sunday as 23 more people tested positive for the infection, officials said.

While 20 cases were detected in Leh, three were reported from Kargil district, they said.

No fresh death was reported in the Union Territory.

According to the officials, the death toll stands at 219 -- 161 fatalities from Leh and 58 from Kargil.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Ladakh has risen to 203 – 153 in Leh and 50 in Kargil – from 184 the previous day, the officials said. -PTI


Omicron tally in India rises to 1,525

A total of 1,525 cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected across 23 States and Union Territories so far, out of which 560 have recovered or migrated, according to the Union Health Ministry's data updated on Sunday.

Maharashtra recorded a maximum of 460 cases, followed by Delhi at 351, Gujarat 136, Tamil Nadu 117 and Kerala 109.

India's Covid tally rose to 3,48,89,132 with 27,553 fresh cases, while the active cases have increased to 1,22,801, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The death toll has climbed to 4,81,770 with 284 more fatalities, the data showed.

The active cases have increased to 1,22,801 comprising 0.35% of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.27%, the ministry said. -PTI


People with comorbidities at high risk even with Omicron, say experts

Although Omicron infections are reported to be clinically milder, those with comorbidities are still at high risk for complications, experts said.

The virus may be mild for some but may behave differently in those who have comorbidities. There should be no complacency, especially in the case of patients with multiple comorbidities, those having immunocompromised conditions and those unvaccinated, doctors said.



France to ease Covid isolation rules: government

France will relax Covid isolation rules from Monday, the government announced, in a bid to ease their impact on society and the economy.

Fully vaccinated people who test positive will only have to isolate for seven days regardless of the coronavirus variant they were infected with, but can leave quarantine after five days if they show an antigen or negative PCR test.

There will be no quarantine for fully inoculated individuals who have a close contact test positive. -AFP


France demands masks for 11- to 6-year-olds

French authorities announced Saturday that children six and older will have to wear masks in indoor places open to the public as new cases of the highly contagious omicron variant surge past 200.000 for the fourth consecutive day.

By lowering the age of children obligated to wear masks from 11 to 6, the government is hoping to avoid shutting down schools after the holiday break. Classes resume Monday and young children will have to wear masks in public transport, in sports complexes and places of worship. The mask mandate extends to outdoor spaces in cities such as Paris and Lyon that have recently re-introduced mask wearing outside. -AP


Bahrain authorizes use of Pfizer's anti-COVID drug -state news agency

Bahrain's health authorities authorized Pfizer's Paxlovid COVID-19 drug for emergency use in adults aged over 18, the state news agency said in a statement on Saturday.

The decision by the National Authority for Regulating Health Professions and Services was based on the review and evaluation of data provided by Pfizer, the statement added. -Reuters


Cinema halls, multiplexes to remain closed in five Haryana districts including Gurugram

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Haryana, authorities on Saturday ordered the closure of cinema halls, multiplexes and sports complexes in five districts, including Gurugram and Faridabad, from January 2 to 12, according to an official order.

The other three districts where the restrictions will be applicable are Ambala, Panchkula and Sonipat.

This comes on a day when a night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am came into force in the state. -PTI

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