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Coronavirus Omicron News LIVE Updates: 113 countries accept India's COVID vaccination certificate, says govt

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Coronavirus Omicron India News LIVE Updates: India added 7,974 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,47,18,602, while the active cases declined to 87,245, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. The death toll climbed to 4,76,478 with 343 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am. The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been recorded below 15,000 for the last 49 days now. The active cases comprise 0.25 percent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.38 percent, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said. A decline of 317 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.57 percent. It has been less than two percent for the last 73 days. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 3,41,54,879, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.37 percent.

Coronavirus Omicron News LIVE Updates: 113 countries accept India's COVID vaccination certificate, says govt
  • 113 countries accept India's Covid vaccination certificate: Govt

     A total of 113 countries accept India's Covid vaccination certificate with some of them having explicitly reached agreements for mutual recognition of certificates with India, while others have their own protocols which apply to all inoculated travellers, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. In a written reply to a question in the Upper House, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the government assigns high priority to smooth travel abroad of Indian nationals and noted that quarantine stipulations as well as entry conditions of other nations have emerged as obstacles in that regard.

  • MP logs 18 new COVID-19 cases, zero death; active tally at 171

    The COVID-19 tally in Madhya Pradesh rose to 7,93,433 on Thursday with an addition of 18 new cases, while no fresh fatality was reported in the state, a health department official said. The COVID-19 death toll remained unchanged at 10,529, the official said.

  • Mumbai reports 279 new COVID-19 cases, highest in month

    Mumbai on Thursday recorded 279 new coronavirus infections, highest since November 11, and two fatalities, a civic official said. The tally of COVID-19 cases in the country's financial capital thus rose to 7,66,213, and the death toll due to the pandemic reached 16,362.

  • 5,133 vacancies in subordinate judiciary: Govt

    There are over 5,000 vacancies in the subordinate judiciary, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday. Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said in a written reply that as on December 13, the sanctioned strength of judicial officers was 24,489 as against a working strength of 19,356, a shortfall of 5,133.

  • Animals can get COVID, but risk of spreading to people low: US health officials

    US health officials say pets and another animals can get the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. But the risk of them spreading it to people is low. Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, otters, hyenas and white-tailed deer are among the animals that have tested positive, in most cases after contracting it from infected people.

  • Kerala clocks 3,404 new COVID-19 cases, 320 deaths

    Kerala on Thursday reported 3,404 new infections and 320 deaths, which took the caseload to 51,95,997 and the death toll to 43,946. Of the 320 deaths, 36 were recorded over the last few days and 284 were designated as COVID-19 deaths after receiving appeals based on the new guidelines of the Centre and the directions of the Supreme Court, a state government release said.

  • Delhi reports 85 new cases, 38 recoveries in the last 24 hours; Active case tally at 475

  • Portugal to keep tighter COVID border rules


    Portugal's prime minister says he intends to keep tighter COVID-19 border controls in place beyond their planned end on January 9 because of the threat from the highly infectious new omicron variant. He says Portugal is also likely to provide another booster shot next year for already vaccinated vulnerable people who are receiving a booster after having the COVID-19 jab earlier this year. Portugal requires a negative test for all passengers on arriving flights. Prime Minister Antnio Costa told reporters Thursday that border controls will continue beyond Jan. 9 and could even be tightened. He didn't elaborate.

  • Trial of new oral drug against COVID-19 begins in South Africa

     

    Oravax Medical Inc, a subsidiary of US/Israeli pharmaceutical company Oramed, has started the first phase of clinical trial of its oral COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa. South Africa has been struggling with its plans to achieve the herd immunity through vaccinations, with widespread vaccine hesitancy, largely fuelled by social media misinformation. There is also a strong anti-vaccination lobby, including some political parties. "We expect to rapidly complete this study and hope to advance into pivotal trials for emergency use approval in countries where our oral Virus-Like Particles (VLP) vaccine would have the greatest impact, Oramed Chief Executive Officer Nadav Kidron said in a statement. South Africa is a great location for the Phase 1 study, as it is currently experiencing a surge in COVID cases and has struggled to obtain sufficient vaccines. It is our firm belief that an oral vaccine which eliminates syringes and eases distribution and administration, can significantly help increase vaccination rates for South Africa and similar countries," Kidron said.

  • Sweden extends COVID vaccination rules, warns may need to do more soon

     

    Sweden will require visitors from other Nordic nations to have a vaccine pass to cross the border as it gradually tightens restrictions in the face of the rising number of COVID-19 infections and worries about the Omicron variant, the government said. Sweden has seen new infections jump in recent days, if from levels below most European countries. It has reintroduced a limited number of measures and authorities said further steps would be needed if infections kept rising. "The new virus variant Omicron makes it hard to predict how things will develop," Health Minister Lena Hallengren told a news conference. "In Sweden, we are in a relatively better position, but even here infections and the burden on the health care system is increasing." The extension of vaccine pass rules to cover Nordic countries, hitherto the only nations not covered by the requirement, will come into force on Dec. 21.

  • Canada advises against international travel amid Omicron threat

     

    Canada's government implored its residents on Wednesday not to leave the country as provinces ramp up vaccinations to combat the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, even as efforts to head off a rising COVID-19 wave are complicated by public fatigue over the pandemic. COVID-19 case numbers are increasing as Canadian hospitals struggle to clear backlogs from months of postponed procedures. Many burnt-out staff members appear ill-equipped for another surge in infections. "I say very clearly: Now is not the time to travel," Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said at a news conference, adding that it's clear there is community transmission of Omicron in Canada. Duclos also said the government is sending millions more COVID-19 vaccine doses and rapid tests to the 10 provinces.

  • Some British hospitals struggle with staff shortages due to COVID-19

     

    British hospitals, particularly in London, are struggling to maintain staffing levels due to the number who are having to isolate with COVID-19, a senior emergency doctor said. With a new highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus surging, Britain on Wednesday recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with a further 78,610 COVID-19 infections reported. "The acute problem is actually to do with staffing," Katherine Henderson, an emergency consultant in London and President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told BBC Radio.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given us free vaccination, we should get vaccinated as early as possible. I feel proud to say that 94 percent and 77 percent of people in Madhya Pradesh are successfully vaccinated with the 1st and 2nd dose respectively, says Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

  • France to restrict travel from Britain to fight omicron

     

    France will restrict arrivals from Britain because of fast-spreading cases of the omicron coronavirus variant, putting limits on reasons for traveling and requiring 48-hour isolation upon arrival, the government spokesman said. The new measures are expected to take effect over the weekend. The government is holding a special virus security meeting on Friday that will address growing pressure on hospitals in France from rising infections in recent weeks. Delta remains the dominant variant in France, but omicron is spreading so fast in Britain that it's raising concerns across the Channel. French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on BFM television that tourism or business trips from Britain to France will be limited, though French citizens will still be able to make the journey.

  • COVID-19: Why working from home leaves the lowest paid at more risk of infection

    Working from home directives have a devastating effect on people of low pay who may be unable to work from home. The same is true of new rules requiring people to self-isolate for 10 days after being in contact with someone infected with the Omicron variant. Help for the most vulnerable needs to be more widely available and easier to access. Organisations that employ agency workers, should improve transparency around terms and conditions, and be more accountable for presenteeism when it occurs.

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  • Vaccine skeptics in Eastern Europe having change of heart

    Some former vaccine skeptics in Eastern Europe have shifted over to the other side as coronavirus infections surge, countries are making it more difficult for the unvaccinated to travel abroad and authorities battle against government distrust and vaccine disinformation. When she rolled up her sleeve in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo to take her first COVID-19 vaccine dose, Fata Keco was afraid of possible adverse side effects. But she told Associated Press the worst she had to contend with over the next few days was moderately discomforting pain in her left arm around the site of the injection. More significantly, the 52-year-old self-employed cleaning woman has joined the global community of vaccine-believers after months of being very susceptible to what she now describes as the most ridiculous theories.

  • Indonesia reports the first case of Omicron variant

     

    Indonesia has identified its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the country’s health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Thursday. The variant was detected on Wednesday evening in an employee at the Wisma Atlet hospital in Jakarta, who had no history of overseas travel. The health minister said so far there was no community transmission, but there were five more suspected Omicron cases, including two Indonesians who had recently returned from the United States and three Chinese nationals currently in quarantine in Manado, North Sulawesi. The government is waiting for genomic sequencing to determine those cases.

  • Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla will hold a regular review meeting with Union Territories later today at the Home Ministry through video conferencing, over the COVID-19 situation. Health Secretary and other concerned officials will also join the conference.

  • Omicron infects 70 times faster but may cause less severe disease: Study
     


    The Omicron variant of coronavirus infects and multiplies 70 times faster than Delta and the original COVID-19 strain, but the severity of illness is likely to be much lower, according to a study. The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study provides the first information on how the novel variant of concern infects human respiratory tract. The researchers from the University of Hong Kong found that Omicron infects and multiplies 70 times faster than the Delta variant and original SARS-CoV-2 in the human bronchus, which may explain why it may transmit faster between humans than previous variants. A bronchus is a passage or airway in the lower respiratory tract that conducts air into the lungs. The study also showed that the Omicron infection in the lung is significantly lower than the original SARS-CoV-2, which may indicate lower disease severity. 

  • Coronavirus Omicron News LIVE Updates: 113 countries accept India's COVID vaccination certificate, says govt
  • Delhi has 10 cases of Omicron Variant so far. Out of these 10, one has been discharged and nine are still admitted at LNJP Hospital. None of them is a severe case, says state Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

  • Malaysia imposes stricter rules, booster requirements over Omicron threat

     

    Malaysia on Thursday announced new COVID-19 restrictions, including banning mass gatherings and requiring booster doses for high-risk groups, as it reported its second case of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said authorities were also verifying 18 more suspected cases of the variant, believed by experts to be the most transmissible yet, with results expected by Friday. The second case was an 8-year-old travelling with family from Nigeria, where the family resided, via Qatar, Khairy told reporters. All close contacts, including 35 passengers on the same flight, have tested negative for the coronavirus so far.

  • Australia's New South Wales sets record for new COVID cases


    Australia's New South Wales state recorded 1,742 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, it's highest daily total since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations were also up across the state. There were 192 coronavirus patients in New South Wales hospitals on Thursday, up from 166 the day before. Of those, 26 were in intensive care. The previous peak for new infections in one day in Australia's most populous state was 1,599 on September 11. The state's Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Wednesday said cases are doubling every two to three days. Modeling at the University of New South Wales forecasts up to 25,000 cases per day by the end of January.

  • Japan adds Moderna shot to COVID vaccine booster arsenal, joining Pfizer

     

    Japan officially approved Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for its booster shot programme that began this month. The move followed a recommendation from health ministry experts that Moderna's mRNA shot, used mostly at workplace inoculation sites to date, could be used as a third booster shot for those aged 18 or older. That's the same standard that was applied to the shot developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, which has been given out about 71,000 times as a booster so far, or just 0.1% of the population. After a relatively late start, Japan has fully inoculated almost 80% of its population, the highest among Group of Seven economies. The country has about 31 million doses left between the Pfizer and Moderna shots, with deals in place to get 170 million more in 2022.

  • India could see mild COVID wave in January-February: Poly Medicure
     

    Himanshu Baid, managing director of Poly Medicure, on Thursday, said that India could see a mild COVID-19 wave in January-February. However, India is much better prepared for the wave, he said. The company is a key manufacturer of several COVID related products such as face shields, face masks etc. It also manufactures syringes for vaccinations. 

  • Over 16.42 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses available with states, UTs: Govt


    Over 16.42 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and Union Territories for inoculation, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday. More than 141.80 crore vaccine doses have been provided to them so far through the Government of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category, it said. The Union government is committed to accelerating the pace and expanding the scope of COVID-19 vaccination throughout the country. The vaccination drive has been ramped up through the availability of more vaccines, advanced visibility of vaccine availability to states and Union Territories for enabling better planning by them, and streamlining the vaccine supply chain, the ministry said. As part of the nationwide vaccination drive, the Government of India has been supporting the states and Union Territories by providing them COVID-19 vaccines free of cost.

  • Prohibitory orders issued in Mumbai till December 31 amid Omicron threat


    Amid the Omicron scare, the Mumbai Police has said prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144 will be imposed in the city from December 16 to December 31, a period covering Christmas and New Year eve, banning large gatherings as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. They said only people up to 50 percent of the capacity at a venue will be allowed to attend any event and organizers of programmes should be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. An order imposing section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) within the Mumbai commissionerate limits from Thursday was issued by the deputy commissioner of police (operations) on Monday. The section prohibits the gathering of five or more persons at one spot and the holding of public meetings, among other things.

  • Today's Data Highlights
     

    - 7,974 new cases, 343 new deaths, 7,948 new recoveries, 317 dip in the active cases

    - New cases below 10k for the 20th day

    - Kerala reports 4,006 new cases, Maharashtra 925, Tamil Nadu 640

    - Kerala reports 282 new deaths (including 157 backlog), West Bengal 13, Maharashtra 10

    - 14 states/UTs report a rise in active cases

    - Difference between new cases reported in the last 7 days and the preceding 7 days in India is -12% (world average is -1%)

    - 60.12 lakh new vaccinations. 135.25 crore total. 15.24 lakh received their first dose yesterday, 44.88 lakh second dose. 53.14 crore fully vaccinated

    - 12.16 lakh new tests. Test positivity rate: 0.66% (0.59% the previous day)

    - Test positivity rate below 1% for the 17th day

    - Test positivity rate (weekly average): Mizoram 9.28%, Kerala 5.89%, Ladakh 2.31%

  • India reports 7,974 new COVID-19 cases, 7,948 recoveries, and 343 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per Union Health Ministry.
     

    Active cases: 87,245
    Total recoveries: 3,41,54,879
    Death toll: 4,76,478

    Coronavirus Omicron News LIVE Updates: 113 countries accept India's COVID vaccination certificate, says govt
  • Thousands protest COVID-19 rules as New Zealand marks 90% vaccine rates


    Thousands marched in New Zealand's capital Wellington on Thursday to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and lockdowns, as the country reached the 90 percent fully vaccinated milestone. New Zealand's tough lockdown and vaccination drives have helped keep coronavirus infections and related deaths low, but it has also drawn criticism from some calling for more freedoms and an end to mandatory vaccine requirements. The government has mandated vaccinations for teachers, workers in the health and disability sectors, police and other public service sectors.

India added 7,974 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,47,18,602, while the active cases declined to 87,245, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. The death toll climbed to 4,76,478 with 343 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am. The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been recorded below 15,000 for the last 49 days now. The active cases comprise 0.25 percent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.38 percent, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said. A decline of 317 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.57 percent. It has been less than two percent for the last 73 days. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 3,41,54,879, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.37 percent.