495 more Omicron infections; Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh among nine States asked to ramp up testing
India reported 1,16,836 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest in over 200 days, taking India’s caseload to 3,52,25,699, according to data released by the health bulletins of States and Union Territories. This is the first time in seven months that daily cases have crossed the one lakh mark in the country. Previously, 1,01,209 new cases were registered on June 6, 2021.
On Thursday, Maharashtra reported 36,265 new infections, followed by West Bengal (15,421) and Delhi (15,097). The figures do not include cases from Tripura, Lakshadweep and Ladakh.
Until Thursday morning, the total number of infections detected of the new SARS CoV2 Omicron variant stood at 2,630, the biggest single-day jump of 495 Omicron cases, according to Union Health Ministry data.
Of the total cases, Maharashtra has the maximum at 797, followed by Delhi at 465, Rajasthan 236, Kerala 280, Karnataka 226, Gujarat 204 and Tamil Nadu 121.
Meanwhile, the Centre has urged nine States and Union Territories to ramp up COVID-19 testing to ensure that infected people do not spread the virus to others.
In a letter to Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar, Additional Secretary of Union Health Ministry Arti Ahuja pointed out a considerable decline in COVID-19 testing amid rising cases and positivity rate and said it is a "cause of concern"
In the absence of sufficient testing, the true level of infection spread in the community would not be revealed, Ms. Ahuja said in her letter dated January 5. States have been asked to review and ensure availability of sufficient stock of testing reagents and kits etc., and regular arrangement of testing facilities, consumables, and logistics.
The Centre has also asked States to collate daily status report of all patients under home isolation in their respective jurisdictions and submit it to the district administrations. The control rooms at district and sub-district levels must have real-time data on the availability of COVID testing centres and ambulances, and should be able to guide a caller on the process for availing these services.
The control rooms must have an adequate number of doctors, counsellors and volunteers as well as computers and uninterrupted broadband connectivity.
On Thursday, Gujarat recorded 4,213 cases, taking the tally of active cases to 14,346. There are 28 patients on ventilator support. So far, a total of 204 Omicron cases have been reported from Gujarat.
Odisha recorded its first Omicron virus variant-related death on Thursday in its Balangir district, where a 45-year-old woman died while under COVID-19 treatment.
The COVID-19 graph again registered a sharp rise in the State, with 1,897 new cases being reported. Odisha now has 5,739 active cases. Khordha district reported 669 COVID-19 cases, accounting for 35% of State’s total cases.
In the capital city of Bhubaneswar, which is part of Khordha, 14 containment zones were declared, following the detection of case clusters.
Andhra Pradesh reported 547 new infections, the highest single-day tally in the past 71 days, as updated at 9 a.m. on Thursday, taking the active case load to 2,266. One new death was also reported
Karnataka on Thursday reported 5,031 new cases with Bengaluru Urban alone accounting for 4,324 cases. One death was also reported. Karnataka has reported a total of 226 Omicron cases so far.
Kerala reported 4,649 new cases. Fifty more Omicron cases have also been confirmed, taking the total number of Omicron cases detected so far in the State to 280.
While the active case pool has shown a rising trend, hospitalisations and ICU occupancy have remained steady. Only 2,372 out of the 25,157 active cases are currently being treated for COVID in hospitals across the State.
In Assam, 844 new cases were detected on Thursday when 35,562 people were tested for COVID-19. Two new deaths have also been added to the State’s COVID toll. The current test positivity rate is 2.37%.
Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday reported 32 new COVID-19 cases, nine more than the previous day, with the tally rising to 55,407, a health department official said. Arunachal Pradesh now has 75 active cases.
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