1 lakh Covid cases, night curfew, Omicron scare: India’s 1st week of 2022 ends

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As the first week of January 2022 comes to an end, the situation of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in India looks abysmal with single-day cases increasing rapidly, even as the count of Omicron variant keeps going up. The dreadful situation has triggered alarm across the country with multiple states and Union territories (UTs) going back to strict restrictions in order to break the chain of transmission and contain the virus spread.

On Saturday, India reported more than 1 lakh fresh coronavirus cases for the second straight day along with maintaining its upward swing of rising single-day infections for the 11th consecutive day. As many as 1,41,986 new cases were logged on Saturday, 21 per cent higher than Friday’s 1,17,100 infections.

Further, the active case count shot up to 472,169. The active cases now account for 1.34 per cent of the total number of 3,53,68,372 cases, according to data shared by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.

Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the states with a majority of the active cases.

Meanwhile, cases of Omicron variant, which was detected in the country a little more than a month before, has climbed to 3,071 with Maharashtra and Delhi being the worst-affected. The two regions have reported a combined 1,389 Omicron cases in the country so far.

Maharashtra, Delhi and West Bengal all reported at least 15, 000 new Covid-19 cases on Friday. Maharashtra logged a massive 40,925 fresh infections, of which, its capital Mumbai accounted for 20,971. The regions also witnessed a high number of deaths. Delhi reported a total of nine deaths while Maharashtra and West Bengal recorded 20 and 18 fatalities, respectively.

Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla chaired a Covid-19 review meeting on the situation in Delhi NCR on Thursday that saw chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana or their representatives along with senior police and health officials of the NCR states in attendance. NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul and Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan were also present.

The regions were asked to adopt a unified approach and to augment health infrastructure in order to contain the present Covid-19 scenario. They were also directed to maintain buffer stocks of important drugs and make sure oxygen supply equipment are fully operational.

Several states and UTs have imposed curbs owing to the current situation. Delhi imposed a weekend curfew starting January 7 along with a daily night curfew between 10pm and 5am. Karnataka has also imposed a weekend and night curfew along with mandating full vaccination for entry to pubs, clubs, restaurants, cinema halls and malls.

Also Read | Weekend & nights curfew in place in these states as India sees major Covid spike: Check details here

Tamil Nadu will be under complete lockdown tomorrow (January 9) with only essential services operational while a daily night curfew is in place between 10pm and 5am. West Bengal has closed all educational institutions, zoos and entertainment parks, among others, and has also restricted flights from Delhi and Mumbai to thrice a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Several political parties such as the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have cancelled their rallies in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh due to rising Covid-19 cases. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand – another poll-bound state, has banned political rallies and protests till January 16.

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