Nationally, 6,987 new COVID-19 cases were recorded on Saturday
Maharashtra recorded its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in nearly two months, with 1,648 cases taking its tally of active cases to 9,813 on Sunday.
Cases of the Omicron variant increased by 31, of whom 29 were asymptomatic and the other two mild, according to officials. Of the new Omicron cases, 27 were in Mumbai, two in Thane district and one each in Pune and Akola districts.
Six children and three senior citizens were among the cases of Omicron reported on Sunday. The number of Omicron cases reached 141, of whom 61 had been discharged following a negative RT-PCR test, said the State Health Department.
States continued to announce measures to control the spread of COVID-19, with fears of the Omicron variant leading to a spike in cases, particularly after New Year’s Eve. In Delhi, where 290 new cases and one death were recorded on Sunday, sources in the Chief Minister’s office said curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. would be announced on Monday. In view of the festive season, the Andhra Pradesh government imposed some restrictions to ensure COVID-appropriate behaviour in public places, according to an order issued recently.
“In the coming months, various festivities such as New Year, Sankranthi and Sivratri will follow one after the other till March 31. This is a critical period as there may be a tendency to ignore COVID appropriate behaviour during festivals resulting in large gatherings, events and fairs,” the Health Department said.
Among the measures put in place in Andhra Pradesh was a 500-person cap on gatherings to ensure effective physical distancing. District Collectors were asked to engage volunteers to aid thermal screenings in public places and to enforce use of masks and physical distancing.
The Telangana government prohibited rallies and public meetings till January 2 in response to recent High Court directions to check the spread of the Omicron variant. It issued an order under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 on Saturday, in the light of suggestions by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry and the directions of the Hight Court.
The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Sunday said 6,987 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the previous 24 hours, taking the count of active cases to 76,766.
The daily positivity rate had stayed below 1% for the past 83 days, with it being 0.74% for the past 24 hours, the Ministry said. Similarly, the weekly positivity rate was less than 1% for the past 42 days, with the latest being 0.62%.
The number of Omicron variant infections increased by seven from Saturday’s Health Ministry bulletin to reach 422, of whom 130 had recovered, been discharged or migrated, Sunday’s bulletin said. A total of 67.19 crore tests had been conducted so far. On vaccination, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday would be opened for the 15-18 age group on January 3, the Ministry said 141.37 crore doses had been administered as of 7 a.m. on Sunday, with 32.90 lakh being in the previous 24 hours.
The Ministry said the Centre had supplied the States and the Union Territories with 148.37 crore doses so far and over 17.90 crore doses were still available with the States and the UTs
The number of Omicron cases in Kerala jumped to 57 with the State registering the highest daily tally of 19 on Sunday. Ernakulam with 11, recorded the highest number of new cases, followed by Thiruvananthapuram with six and Thrissur and Kannur one each.
Health Minister Veena George advised extreme caution in view of the mounting cases of Omicron. She called for adherence to COVID protocols including wearing of masks and social distancing.
(With inputs from State bureaus)
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