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COVID-19 Highlights: Omicron spreading in community in Delhi; India's tally of new variant crosses 1,000

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COVID-19 Highlights: India's tally of the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID on Thursday crossed 1,000 on the back of Maharashtra reporting its highest single-day infection with the new strain, as states further tightened measures to deal with the surge in coronavirus cases. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, meanwhile, said Omicron is gradually spreading in the community and the variant of concern has been found in 46 per cent of the latest samples of regular COVID cases analysed in the national capital.

COVID-19 Highlights: Omicron spreading in community in Delhi; India's tally of new variant crosses 1,000
COVID-19 Highlights:
India's tally of the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID on Thursday crossed 1,000 on the back of Maharashtra reporting its highest single-day infection with the new strain, as states further tightened measures to deal with the surge in coronavirus cases. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, meanwhile, said Omicron is gradually spreading in the community and the variant of concern has been found in 46 per cent of the latest samples of regular COVID cases analysed in the national capital.
Government said from December 26 onwards, the country has been reporting 10,000 daily cases
Here are today's highlights
Centre asks 19 states, UTs to ramp up COVID testing
The Centre on Thursday urged 19 states and union territories to ramp up Covid testing "in a big way" to identify cases promptly and restrict its spread in view of the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, and the larger preponderance of asymptomatic cases. A decline of over 50 per cent has been seen in testing in Arunachal Pradesh (68 per cent), Assam (58 per cent) and Nagaland (52 per cent), it noted.
West Bengal suspends direct flights from UK, at-risk countries from Jan 3
Alarmed at doubling of COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the West Bengal government on Thursday said it is suspending all direct flights from the UK and those emanating from other high-risk countries from January 3. The state government also announced a mandatory Covid test for all international travellers from non-at risk countries upon arrival.
Over 144.45 crore Covid vaccine doses administered in India so far: Govt
The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 144.45 crore on Thursday, the Union Health Ministry said. More than 59 lakh doses were administered in the day till 7 pm, it said. The daily vaccination tally is expected to increase with the compilation of final reports for the day by late night, the ministry said. The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2.
Kolkata's new COVID-19 cases more than double in 24hrs, Bengal's positivity rate 5.47%
Kolkata's tally of new COVID-19 infections more than doubled in 24 hours as the metropolis reported 1,090 cases on Thursday, as per the state Health Department. The city reported 540 new cases on Wednesday, it said.
West Bengal registered more than 2,000 cases after nearly six months as the state reported 2,128 new infections. It was nearly double the cases reported on Wednesday when 1,089 infections were detected, and more than four times that reported on last Thursday -- 516.
New coronavirus wave could be worse, warns Mumbai Mayor
The new wave of the coronavirus pandemic could be worse than the earlier two waves, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said here on Thursday while appealing people to follow the norms. The Maharashtra capital on Wednesday reported 2,510 COVID-19 cases, a big jump compared to 283 cases on December 20. The new wave could be more terrible, therefore Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself was issuing alerts to the states, Pednekar told reporters
Covaxin found to be safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic in 2-18 age group
Pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech Thursday said that its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin has proven to be safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic in the age group of 2-18 years. Bharat Biotech based its statement on the results of phase II/III study in volunteers.
Maharashtra CM chairs emergency meet
The emergency meeting Maharashtra COVID-19 Task Force called by CM  Uddhav Thackeray underway
Omicron tally reaches 961
There are 961 cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus in India, out of which 320 patients have recovered: Luv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry
India has been reporting 10,000 daily cases
On average, India reported more than 8,000 cases per day last week. Overall case positivity rate stands at 0.92%. From Dec 26 onwards, the country has been reporting 10,000 daily cases: Luv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry
Omicron spreading in community in Delhi
Omicron is gradually spreading in the community and the new, fast-spreading variant of concern has been found in 46 per cent of the latest samples analysed in the national capital, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday. He said stringent curbs have been put in place as part of the Graded Response Action Plan for COVID-19 to check the spread of the infection and the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will decide on implementing more restrictions. "The latest genome sequencing report showed 46 per cent of the samples have Omicron. These people include those who do not have any travel history. It means Omicron is now inside Delhi," Jain said.
All parties in favour of holding UP polls as per schedule, says EC
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said all political parties in Uttar Pradesh want the Assembly elections be held according to schedule while ensuring COVID protocol
Nora Fatehi tests positive for COVID-19
Actor-dancer Nora Fatehi on Thursday said she has tested positive for COVID-19 and is under quarantine. The 29-year-old actor said the virus has hit her "real hard" and she has been bedridden for a few days.
Can't impose COVID restrictions everywhere as it may impact economy: Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said coronavirus-related restrictions cannot be imposed everywhere as it may impact the economy as has been the case since the onset of the pandemic. Speaking to reporters while visiting the Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas district where the annual Ganga Sagar Mela will begin next month, Banerjee said COVID19 cases in Kolkata were rising as
India imposes stricter rules to prevent COVID-19 spread during festive season
Indian authorities started to impose stringent rules on Thursday to prevent mass gatherings at parties and public venues ahead of new year celebrations as the nation sees a spike in COVID19 infections.
225 new Covid cases, 1 death in Odisha
Odisha on Thursday logged 225 new COVID19 cases, the highest in the last 20 days, taking the tally to 10,54,606, the Health Department said. The toll mounted to 8,458 as a 57yearold woman from Khurda district died. Fiftythree other coronavirus patients have died so far due to comorbidities, it said in a bulletin.
Cricket-Match referee Boon to miss fourth Ashes test after positive COVID-19 test
Match referee David Boon has tested positive for COVID19 and will not be available for the fourth Ashes test in Sydney from Jan. 5, Cricket Australia said.
Fifteen new COVID-19 cases in Ladakh
Ladakh recorded 15 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 22,155 in the Union Territory, officials said on Thursday. The Union Territory has recorded 219 Covid-related deaths 161 in Leh and 58 in Kargil since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, they said.
Mizoram sees massive COVID surge, border clash with Assam, refugee influx from Myanmar
Mizoram dealt with multiple crises in 2021, ranging from a massive spread of COVID19 and interstate boundary clash with Assam to an influx of refugees from Myanmar. The tiny northeastern state, which was nominally affected by COVID-19 last year, saw a massive upsurge in cases this year, prompting the state government to impose multiple lockdowns.
China's 'zero case' policy is under stress due to sudden spike of COVID-19 cases
China's ZeroCOVID19 case policy is increasingly coming under stress as the country is reporting a spike in the number of coronavirus infections from different provinces ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games with over 2,500 people undergoing treatment. China's National Health Commission said on Thursday that 207 COVID19 cases, including 156 new locally transmitted ones and 51 imported were reported on Wednesday.
Section 144 imposed in Mumbai till January 7 as omicron cases rise
Mumbai police imposed Section 144 in the city till January 7 in view of the rising number of Omicron variant of COVID-19 cases in the megacity. The curbs that will be valid from tonight are aimed at restricting large gatherings such as parties during the new-year celebrations.
7-day average for vaccinations at 55.4 lakh with nearly 64 lakh doses administered in last 24 hours
Total case rise count at 13,154
Palm Springs Film Fest canceled for 2022 due to rising COVID-19 cases
The 2022 edition of Palm Springs Film Festival has been cancelled due to a rise in the coronavirus cases in the US. The announcement was made by the Palm Springs International Film Society in a statement on Wednesday.
Mizoram logs 202 fresh COVID-19 cases, one more fatality
Mizoram's COVID19 count rose to 1,41,157 on Thursday with 202 fresh cases, while one more fatality pushed the death toll to 542, a health department official said. At least 38 children were among the newly infected people, he said.
Actor Shilpa Shirodkar tests positive for COVID-19
Actor Shilpa Shirodkar, known for films such as "Hum", "Khuda Gawah" and "Aankhen", on Thursday said she has been tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In an Instagram post, the 1990s popular star shared that she had tested four days ago. "COVID POSITIVE!!! #day4," the actor, who was the first Indian celebrity to receive COVID19 vaccine, wrote.
Shirodkar, who stays in Dubai with her family, had received a jab of Sinopharm vaccine in January this year. "Stay safe everyone, please get vaccinated and follow all the rules your government knows what is best for you. Lots of love #Getvaccinated #maskon #staysafe, she said.
493 new COVID-19 cases in Thane; over 100%  jump in one day
Maharashtra's Thane district has reported an over 100 per cent rise in new COVID19 cases in one day. The district recorded 493 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as compared to 241 on Tuesday, taking the overall infection tally here to 5,73,173, an official said on Thursday.
Third wave has started in Mumbai; hospitalisation rate low: Maha COVID task force member
Maharashtra COVID-19 task force member Dr Shashank Joshi on Thursday said that the third wave has already started in Mumbai. However, very few hospitalisations can be seen, Joshi said.
"We are reasonably certain that most of the Mumbai cases are Omicron due to mild and fast spreading nature. The double doubling pattern in Mumbai also suggests that the strain is Omicron. Although we can see that it is a mild disease and there is low hospitalisation," he said.
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