Coronavirus updates | January 26, 2022

An elderly woman getting a jab of COVID vaccine at a health centre near Dr LB College in Visakhapatnam. File.

An elderly woman getting a jab of COVID vaccine at a health centre near Dr LB College in Visakhapatnam. File.

India logged 2,85,914 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,00,85,116, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday. The death toll has climbed to 4,91,127 with 665 fresh fatalities, the data  updated at 8 a.m. stated.

The active cases have decreased to 22,23,018 and comprise 5.55% of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has decreased to 93.23%, the Ministry said.

 A reduction of 13,824 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.  India crossed the grim milestone of 2 crore on May 4 and 3 crore on June 23.

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 :

Delhi

Masked, vaccinated, socially distanced, only 5,000 people attend Republic Day parade

Crowds at the Republic Day parade on Wednesday were curtailed to just 5,000 people, all double masked, vaccinated and maintaining strict 'do gaz ki doori' in view of the Covid situation.

Only double vaccinated adults and children above the age of 15 who have taken at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine were allowed to enter the venue. Children below 15 years were not permitted to attend.

There was strict security with personnel maintaining strict vigil. Chairs were placed at a distance to ensure social distancing. Participants also received a white cap with "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav" printed on it. - PTI

China

Beijing sees uptick in COVID cases ahead of Olympics

The Chinese capital reported 14 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people in the run-up to the Winter Olympics.

The mass testing announcement, made late Tuesday by Beijing's Fengtai district on its social media account, prompted complaints from some residents who were asked to line up yet again outside as daytime temperatures hovered around freezing.

Beijing has stepped up China's already strict pandemic response measures as it tries to quash any outbreaks ahead of the Olympics, which open in nine days. The city announced this week that anyone who buys fever, headache or two other types of medicine will be subject to a COVID-19 test within 72 hours. - AP

Telangana

Telugu actor Chiranjeevi tests positive for COVID-19

Telugu matinee idol Chiranjeevi on Wednesday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms.

“Despite all precautions, I have tested Covid-19 Positive with mild symptoms last night and am quarantining at home. I request all who came in contact with me over the last few days to get tested too. Can’t wait to see you all back soon!,” he said in a tweet.

Reacting to Chiranjeevi's tweet, Junior NTR tweeted “Wishing you a speedy recovery sir! Hope you feel better soon.” In November 2020, the actor said he tested positive for COVID-19. However, after three days he again said it was a false report. - PTI

UAE

Abu Dhabi says vaccinated tourists need no boosters to enter

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have published new information about the capital's entry requirements, saying that unlike residents and citizens, vaccinated tourists do not need to show proof of a booster shot to cross into Abu Dhabi.

The tourism-specific change comes as confusion swirls around entry rules for Abu Dhabi, which has taken a more stringent approach to containing the coronavirus than its freewheeling neighbor, Dubai.

The pandemic has prompted Abu Dhabi to erect a hard border with Dubai, forcing all drivers to come to a halt for vaccination and COVID checks on what once had been a wide, empty highway before the virus struck. - AP

USA

Biden administration officially withdraws vaccine rule

The Biden administration has officially withdrawn a rule that would have required workers at big companies to get vaccinated or face regular COVID testing requirements.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed the withdrawal Tuesday. But the agency said it still strongly encourages workers to get vaccinated.

In early November, OSHA announced a vaccine-or-test mandate for companies with at least 100 employees. The rule which would have impacted more than 80 million U.S. workers was originally set to go into effect on January 4.

USA

COVID-19 booster drive is faltering in the U.S.

The COVID-19 booster drive in the U.S. is losing steam, worrying health experts who have pleaded with Americans to get an extra shot to shore up their protection against the highly contagious omicron variant.

Just 40% of fully vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the average number of booster shots dispensed per day in the U.S. has plummeted from a peak of 1 million in early December to about 490,000 as of last week.

Also, a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that Americans are more likely to see the initial vaccinations — rather than a booster — as essential. - AP

USA

U.S. considers allowing diplomats to leave China over strict COVID rules

The U.S. State Department is weighing whether to authorize departures for American diplomats and their families in China who wish to leave due to the U.S. government's inability to prevent Chinese authorities from subjecting them to intrusive pandemic control measures, sources told Reuters.

Two sources familiar with the issue said the U.S. Embassy on Monday had sent the request to Washington for formal sign off, as China ramps up COVID-19 containment protocols ahead of the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics in less than two weeks.

The sources, speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, added that some embassy staff are upset the U.S. government has been unwilling or unable to exempt American officials from strict quarantine measures. - Reuters

West Bengal

In West Bengal, parents demand reopening of schools, colleges

A campaign is on in West Bengal in favour of reopening of educational institutions, with many angry parents demanding to know why it is always the students who are made to sit home whenever pandemic–related restrictions are imposed.

Schools and colleges, which had reopened late last year, were to resume classes on January 2 after winter vacations but were shut again after the Omicron-driven third wave has caused an explosion in the number of COVID-19 cases. As of now, they are to remain shut till January 31 but there is no official word yet on whether they will reopen after that date.

The campaign is reflecting online, with demands for re–opening of institutions being made under the hashtag #openschoolcollegeuniversities.

India

India has shown unmatched resolve in facing challenge of pandemic: President

President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said the country has shown unmatched resolve in the face of the extraordinary challenge posed to humankind by the coronavirus pandemic, and asserted that a strong and sensitive India is now emerging.

Addressing the nation on the eve of 73rd Republic Day, President Kovind noted that democracy, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity form the bedrock of India, and urged the people to celebrate “Indian-ness” this Republic Day.

He stressed that the observance of the Fundamental Duties mentioned in the Constitution creates the proper environment for the enjoyment of Fundamental Rights, and cited people’s participation in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and in COVID-19 vaccination as examples of citizens fulfilling their fundamental duties and rendering a national service.

 

 

Pfizer starts Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine trial

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have begun enrolment for a clinical trial to test the safety and immune response of their Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine in adults aged up to 55, the companies said in a statement on January 25.

Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla has previously said that the pharmaceutical giant could be ready to file for regulatory approval of the shot by March.

The company’s head of vaccine research Kathrin Jansen said in a statement that while current data showed that boosters against the original COVID-19 strain continued to protect against severe outcomes with Omicron, the company was acting out of caution. - AFP

 

 

Active COVID-19 cases in India cross 22.3 lakh mark on January 25, 2022

India recorded 2,74,709 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The total number of infections has reached 3.98 crore, and the number of active cases have crossed the 22.3 lakh mark.

The figures are based on the State bulletins released until 8.50 p.m. on Tuesday. However, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chattisgarh, Sikkim, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Jharkhand and Lakshadweep had not yet released data for the day.

Kerala recorded 55,475 infections on Tuesday, followed by Karnataka (41,400) and Maharashtra (33,914). 

 

 

Labs grapple with shortage of reagents, funds hits genome sequencing

Amidst the third wave of COVID-19, several laboratories tasked with genome sequencing are limiting the number of coronavirus samples they analyse for a variety of reasons, The Hindu has learnt, including a paucity of necessary reagents, a fund shortage or a deluge of sampling requests.

Some of these labs are part of the INSACOG network, the pan-India consortium of 38 laboratories tasked with monitoring the genomic variations in SARS-CoV-2.

An internal note by the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Thiruvananthapuram, for instance says the “reagent shipment is highly impacted” and only limited number of samples would be taken up for sequencing. The institute however said it expected the shortage to resolve within a week.

 


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Printable version | May 26, 2022 8:01:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-live-updates-january-26-2022/article38327541.ece