Coronavirus updates | January 21, 2022

A health worker takes a nasal swab sample of a man to test for COVID-19 at a test center in Srinagar. File.

A health worker takes a nasal swab sample of a man to test for COVID-19 at a test center in Srinagar. File.

Use of antivirals or monoclonal antibodies is not recommended for children less than 18 years of age, irrespective of the severity of infection, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, while releasing the revised ‘Comprehensive Guidelines for Management of COVID-19’ in children and adolescents.

“Children who develop any organ specific dysfunction during hospital stay or subsequently should receive appropriate care,” state the guidelines.

Cautioning that self-medication of steroids should be avoided, the guidelines say steroids are not indicated and are harmful in asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19.

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 :


Karnataka stops weekend curfew, continues night curfew

Under pressure from the public, and trade and business establishments, Karnataka Government announced lifting of weekend curfew (Saturday and Sunday). However, the government decided to continue night curfew (10 p.m. to 5 a.m.) on all days.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai chaired a two-hour-long meeting with health experts, Ministers and senior officials, which concluded with the decision to lift the weekend curfew on ‘scientific grounds’.

With a hospitalisation rate of no more than 5%, the government decided to stop imposing a weekend curfew in Karnataka. The government would re-impose the restriction if the hospitalisation rate increases, said Revenue Minister R. Ashok and appealed to the people to cooperate with the government by strictly following Covid-19 guidelines in public places.



Total lockdown in TN on Sunday

For the third week in a row, Tamil Nadu will witness complete lockdown on Sunday in a bid to curb COVID-19.

The government has allowed autorickshaws, taxis and app-based taxis to function on Sunday to facilitate people returning homes after Pongal holidays on Sunday. - Dennai Jesudasan


Assam duo’s anti-COVID-19 herbal drink found 98% effective by lab

A laboratory in Bhubaneswar has found an Assam duo’s anti-viral herbal drink 98% effective against SARS-Cov2.

Pankaj Gogoi from Dhemaji and Pranjal Gam from Golaghat had applied for a patent for the drink made from a mix of plants people in areas straddling Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have traditionally used as herbal medicines.



Delhi LG rejects recommendation to lift weekend lockdown, allows private offices to function with 50% attendance

Delhi LG Anil Baijal approves Government’s proposal to allow private offices to function upto 50% attendance; however, recommendations to lift weekend curfew and allowing markets to function fully without odd-even rejected till the COVID situation in Delhi improves further. - Jatin Anand


Harbhajan Singh tests positive for COVID-19, under home quarantine

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh on Friday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently under home quarantine.

The 41-year-old veteran spinner, who announced his retirement from all forms of the game last month, has mild symptoms.

"I've tested positive for COVID with mild symptoms. I have quarantined myself at home and taking all the necessary precautions," Harbhajan tweeted. - PTI


Nine evacuated as Covid-19 hits Antarctic research base

For the first time since the start of the pandemic the coronavirus has reached an Argentine research base in Antarctica, causing the evacuation of nine unvaccinated staff who tested positive for COVID-19, an official said Thursday.

File photo of the Argentinian Esperanza military base in Antarctica.

File photo of the Argentinian Esperanza military base in Antarctica.


Twenty-four of the 43 scientists and military personnel resident at Argentina's La Esperanza base have been infected, Patricia Ortuzar of the government's National Directorate of the Antarctic told AFP.

Nine of the 24, who have no symptoms, were evacuated to Buenos Aires by helicopter as a precaution.

They had been in Antarctica since before the start of Argentina's vaccination campaign in 2021, and were due to travel to the capital to be jabbed. - AFP



Beijing Winter Olympics | Torch relay confined to closed venues due to COVID

The Beijing Winter Olympics torch relay will be cordoned off from the public because of concern about the spread of the coronavirus, organisers said on January 21.

The relay involving 1,200 torchbearers will begin on February 2 and wind up just two days later, on February 4, when the Games open in the capital, Beijing, and neighbouring Hebei province.

"This torch relay will always prioritise safety," Yang Haibin, an official from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports told a briefing.

"Taking into account factors such as epidemic prevention ... the torch relay and ceremonial activities will be arranged in safe and controllable closed venues." - Reuters



Delhi govt plans to lift weekend curfew, LG's nod sought

The Delhi government has proposed lifting weekend curfew, end odd even system for opening of shops and allow private offices to run with 50% staff in the city, official sources said on January 21.

The proposal has been sent to Lt. Governor Anil Baijal for his consent,  they said.

The decision to ease the restrictions was taken in view of declining number of Covid cases in the city, they said.

The weekend curfew imposed in view of rise in Covid cases will be in place from 10 p.m. Friday and continue till Monday 5 a.m. It will be done away with if the LG grants permission to the Delhi government's proposal. - PTI


Jharkhand slashes RTPCR, RAT rates by ₹100

The Jharkhand government has reduced the rates for RTPCR and rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 by ₹100 with immediate effect, an official order said.

An RTPCR test in the State will now cost ₹300 and a rapid antigen test can be done at ₹50, it said.

Additional Chief Secretary of Health Department, Arun Kumar Singh, said the decision was taken following a reduction in prices of testing materials.

Jharkhand’s COVID-19 tally January 20 climbed to 4,12,939 as 2,617 more people tested positive for the virus, while 12 fresh fatalities pushed the death toll to 5,225. - PTI


Preteens may be vaxed without parents under California bill

California would allow children age 12 and up to be vaccinated without their parents' consent, the youngest age of any state, under a proposal late Thursday by a state senator.

Alabama allows such decisions at age 14, Oregon at 15, Rhode Island and South Carolina at 16, according to Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who is proposing the change. Only Washington, D.C., has a lower limit, at age 11.

Wiener argued that California already allows those 12 and up to consent to the Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, and to treatment for sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse and mental health disorders. - AP


'Isolation' not mandatory for foreign arrivals testing COVID positive: Authorities

Travellers arriving in India from any country who will test positive for COVID-19 shall be treated/isolated as per the laid down standard protocol and will not mandatorily be managed at an isolation facility, authorities have said.

According to the revised ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’ released on Thursday, the new norm will apply from January 22 till further order.

The rest of the provisions have remained the same in the revised guidelines. - PTI


COVID disrupts aid flight to tsunami-hit Tonga

As aid trickles into the South Pacific nation of Tonga, devastated by a volcanic eruption and tsunami, an Australian aid flight was forced to return to base due to a positive COVID-19 case onboard, a defence official said on Friday.

Tonga is COVID-free and has a strict border control policy, and is requiring contactless delivery of aid that began arriving by plane on Thursday.

The Australian aid flight left Brisbane on Thursday afternoon but was turned around midflight after being notified of the positive COVID-19 case, an Australian defence spokeswoman said. - Reuters


Israel to scrap quarantine for children exposed to COVID carriers

Israel will ditch mandatory quarantine for children exposed to COVID-19 carriers, the government said on Thursday, citing a need to relieve parents and schools as case numbers spiral due to the fast-spreading but low-morbidity Omicron variant.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that as of January 27, children will instead be required to take twice-weekly home antigen tests for the virus and, if they prove positive or feel unwell, absent themselves from school until they recover.

"Children are returning to continuity in schooling," he said during a televised address with his health and education ministers, adding that medical experts had determined that the young were on sufficiently "safe ground" to warrant the review. - Reuters


France to loosen COVID curbs in February, allowing popcorn in cinemas again

France will ease work-from-home rules from early February and allow nightclubs to reopen two weeks later as the general COVID-19 situation in the country is starting to improve, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday.

Caps on the number of people allowed into sports and entertainment venues will also be lifted on February 2, and masks will no longer be required outdoors from that date.

People will also again, from February 16, be allowed to eat popcorn - or other snacks - in cinemas. COVID protocols in schools, which among other things require children to wear masks in class, could be relaxed after the winter holidays. - Reuters


Vaccines preventing many COVID-19 deaths in third wave: Government

India is seeing relatively low mortality in the ongoing COVID-19 surge because of enhanced vaccination cover, said V. K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, adding that 6.5 crore persons, who were due for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, had not taken it so far.

“They should take this dose to ensure that they don’t prove to be the weak link in the fight against the pandemic. Anybody who is not protected can spread the infection too,’’ Dr. Paul said during the weekly Health Ministry press conference on Thursday.

For the first time, the Health Ministry termed the present surge as “the third wave” of the pandemic in the country, adding that Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi are among the top contributors to the COVID-19 surge. In the week ending on January 19, 515 districts reported a weekly case positivity of more than 5%.


Tamil Nadu

Cases dip in Chennai for 4th day in a row

Though fresh coronavirus infections rose to 28,561 in Tamil Nadu on Thursday, Chennai continued to register a decline in cases for the fourth consecutive day, with the number of people testing positive falling below the 8,000-mark. Recoveries exceeded the city’s daily tally.

Overall, fresh cases were up by 5.85%, when compared to 12.94% on the previous day. Except Chennai, Kallakurichi and Madurai, all other districts registered a rise in cases when compared to Wednesday’s figures. Chennai’s daily tally dropped from 8,007 to 7,520. As many as 8,011 patients were discharged after treatment in the city.



Maharashtra government to reopen schools from January 24

The Maharashtra Government is set to reopen schools from Monday, January 24.

Schools in the State were closed in the wake of the spread of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The State’s School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad on Thursday said, “After the increase in COVID positive cases in the State, the government had decided to discontinue offline classes till February 15. But after discussions with experts and also looking at the present drop in the number of cases, it has been decided to reopen schools from Monday.”

The proposal to reopen schools from Classes 1to 12 was sent to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.



Bengaluru breaches 2nd wave peak with 30,540 fresh cases

Bengaluru reported 30,540 cases on Thursday, breaching the previous all-time high of 26,756 daily fresh cases on April 30, 2021, at the peak of the second wave. This is also a big jump from 24,135 cases reported in the city on Wednesday.

Experts and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike estimate that the peak is still far away. But Chief Civic Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said the condition in the city during the two peaks is not comparable. While there was a mad scramble for beds, oxygen, medicines and long lines at the city’s crematoriums at the peak of the second wave, even hospitalisation is very low in the city as of Thursday. While the city recorded 93 deaths on April 30, 2021, at the peak of the second wave, the city reported eight deaths on Thursday.



Handloom weavers in Kerala pin hopes on online platform as pandemic threatens to disrupt market

Handloom weavers in Ernakulam district, mostly comprising cooperative societies from Chendamangalam, are looking forward to a boost in sales through its newly launched online platform, as the third wave of COVID-19 threatens to disrupt the market.

The online platform, with support from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), has been launched at a time when weavers’ societies are facing serious shortage of raw materials like hang yarn. The steep rise in prices of raw materials too has come as a big setback to traditional handloom production units, which had been hoping for a revival of fortunes after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and Onam and Christmas seasons saw an increase in sales.



Delhi government caps RT-PCR test at ₹300

The Delhi government has capped the rate of COVID-19 tests at private labs and hospitals.

“The rates for conventional RT-PCR and RAT test for COVID-19 in Delhi by private labs has been reduced. The price cap for RT-PCR test has been set at ₹300 and the price for home collection of samples have been set at ₹500. Price for Rapid Antigen Test has been set at ₹100,” Health Minister Satyendar Jain tweeted on Thursday.

The Minister also said that the peak of the current wave seems to have passed.

“Delhi was witnessing up to 28,000 cases a day and now it has reduced to half of it. Positivity rate too had gone beyond 30% and it is now 22%-23%. It seems that the peak has passed and the day when 28,000 cases were reported can be considered as Delhi’s peak,” the Minister said.



Revised guidelines for management of COVID-19 in children and adolescents

Use of antivirals or monoclonal antibodies is not recommended for children less than 18 years of age, irrespective of the severity of infection, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, while releasing the revised ‘Comprehensive Guidelines for Management of COVID-19’ in children and adolescents.

Adding the cohort of adolescents to the guidelines, the Ministry said that for diagnosing multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), caution should be exercised while interpreting an isolated increase in COVID-19 antibodies.

“If steroids are used, they should be tapered over 10-14 days, subject to clinical improvement,” it said, also revising the use of anticoagulants and adding a new section on post-COVID-19 care.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 13, 2022 5:37:04 am |