India’s Omicron tally inches closer to 5,000, Maharashtra and Rajasthan top chart


India’s Omicron tally reached closer to 5,000-mark on Wednesday after the morning update by the Union ministry of health and family welfare showed that the country has so far logged as many as 4,868 cases of the new Covid-19 variant.

All states and Union territories (UTs) of the country have confirmed cases of the Omicron variant. Maharashtra and Rajasthan lead the chart with 1,281 and 645 infections, respectively. Delhi, which was for a longer period of time in the second slot of the countrywide tally, has retained its third position with 546 cases of the new ‘variant of concern’. On January 10, Rajasthan overthrew the national capital as the second most-hit state in India by Omicron.

Other states and UTs in the top 10 worst-affected regions include Karnataka (479), Kerala (350), West Bengal (294), Uttar Pradesh (275), Gujarat (236), Tamil Nadu (185), and Haryana (162).

Of the total 4,868 Omicron cases that the country has detected so far, as many as 1,805 have recovered. This means, there are 3,063 active infections of the Covid-19 variant in India, according to the Union health ministry update.

This comes on a day India witnessed a spike in single-day Covid-19 cases yet again with a total of 194,720 fresh infections. The death toll of the country also rose to 484,655 after new fatalities witnessed a jump to 442 from Tuesday’s 277.

The latest surge in India, which is considered as a third coronavirus wave, is primarily due to the Omicron outbreak. It has triggered a majority of states and UTs to impose strict restrictions, including night curfew, shutting of schools and colleges, closure or curbs on restaurants and bars, among others.

On Tuesday, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to all states and UTs, directing them to ensure that optimal availability of medical oxygen is ensured at all health facilities amid the increasing coronavirus cases. He stated that all health facilities across the country must ensure that they have a buffer stock of medical oxygen adequate for “at least 48 hours.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (January 9) chaired his fourth Covid-19 review meeting since November last year. During the meeting, he asked officials to speed up vaccination among teenagers and precaution (booster) dose for healthcare and frontline workers. He added attention should be given to testing and genome sequencing in order to combat the current situation due to the Omicron outbreak.

Notably, India opened vaccination against coronavirus for teenagers on January 3 while the precaution dose (third jab) for healthcare, frontline and those aged above 60 with comorbidities commenced on January 10.

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