Coronavirus live | Omicron risk remains 'very high': WHO

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country reached 143 crore on Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry said

Personnel to be deployed on election duty in the five poll-bound States will be included in the category of frontline workers and would be entitled to the precaution dose of COVID-19 vaccine, amid growing indications that the elections may be held on time.

Close on the heels of getting emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax, from the Drugs Controller General of India, Biological E has announced plans to ramp up production.

Cipla, Sun Pharma and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories were among the clutch of pharma firms that on Tuesday said they will soon be launching molnupiravir capsules.

Read | Put out the data, boost the dose of transparency

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:

Omicron risk remains ‘very high’: WHO

The risk posed by the Omicron variant is still "very high", the World Health Organization said Wednesday, after COVID-19 case numbers shot up by 11 percent globally last week.

Omicron is behind rapid virus spikes in several countries, including those where it has already overtaken the previously-dominant Delta variant, the WHO said in its Covid-19 weekly epidemiological update.

"The overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high," the UN health agency said. -AFP

WHO warns of Omicron overload as China, Europe impose new curbs

he WHO warned on Tuesday that the Omicron coronavirus variant could lead to overwhelmed healthcare systems even though early studies suggest it leads to milder disease, as China and Germany brought back tough restrictions to stamp out new infection surges.

China put hundreds of thousands more people under lockdown, while infections hit new highs in multiple U.S. states and European countries.

COVID-19 surges have wreaked havoc around the world, with many nations trying to strike a balance between economically punishing restrictions and controlling the spread of the virus.

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Biden announces end to Covid-related southern Africa travel bans

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday he is lifting a ban this week on travel from South Africa and other countries in the region, imposed due to fear of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

"The travel restrictions… are no longer necessary to protect the public health" and will end on Friday, Mr. Biden said in a proclamation. -AFP

Strictly enforce COVID-19 guidelines at New Year events, says Puducherry L-G

Lt. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said the detection of the Variant of Concern, Omicron, in two samples from Puducherry poses a new challenge, especially as the Government has permitted New Year events in multiple venues.

She directed the administration to take all measures for strict enforcement of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to prevent a possible surge in cases during celebrations, in strict compliance with the guidelines/advisory of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Home Affairs.

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Curbs back as COVID-19 cases rise, Delhi issues ‘yellow alert’

A yellow alert has been sounded in Delhi and restrictions imposed under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) due to rising COVID-19 cases in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Tuesday.

Later in the day, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) ordered closure of schools, colleges, cinemas and gyms with immediate effect and put various restrictions on the functioning of shops and public transport.

The restrictions include extension of night curfew (from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.), closure of schools and colleges, opening of non-essential shops based on an odd-even basis, and 50% seating capacity in Metro trains and buses.

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Only fully vaccinated to be allowed at markets, other public places in Punjab from January 15

Only fully vaccinated people will be permitted at public places such as markets, malls, hotels and cinema halls in Punjab with effect from January 15, according to a State government order.

The government ordered private and public sector banks, hotels, bars, restaurants, malls, shopping complexes, cinema halls, gyms and fitness centres to allow only fully vaccinated adults.

All government, board and corporation offices located in Chandigarh will allow only fully vaccinated people, according to the order issued by the state’s home affairs and justice department. -PTI

No night curfew for now as it may affect tourism, says Goa CM

The Goa government on Tuesday decided not to impose night curfew in the coastal State for now so that the tourism business amid the Christmas-New Year festival season is not affected.

Chief minister Pramod Sawant told reporters in Panaji that his government was monitoring the COVID-19 positivity rate and stringent decisions would be taken during the meeting of the task force scheduled to be held on January 3 in case this rate rises.

"Imposing immediate night curfew is not feasible being a tourist state. We will need time. We have appealed to tourists to take maximum precautions. The health department and police have been instructed to ensure COVID-19 norms are not violated," he said. -PTI

Physical classes to resume in Odisha primary schools from January 3

The Odisha government Tuesday announced that physical classes would resume for students of classes 1 to 5 from January 3 next.

The announcement was made by School and Mass Education minister S.R. Dash barely a few hours after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed officials to make preparations on war-footing to deal with a possible third wave of COVID-19 following the detection of at least eight cases of Omicron variant in the State.

Mr. Dash told reporters that as per the directions of the chief minister, physical mode of teaching will be resumed in about 27,000 schools in the state from January 3, 2022. -PTI

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