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December 08, 2021 / 11:06 PM IST

Coronavirus Omicron India Highlights: Omicron may pose higher reinfection risk but could be milder than Delta: WHO chief

Coronavirus Omicron India Highlights: Till Monday, 16 travellers arriving from at-risk countries and their nine close contacts had tested positive to COVID-19.

Coronavirus Omicron India Highlights: The number of COVID-19 positive air travellers who have returned to Mumbai from 'at-risk' countries climbed to 17 on Tuesday with the addition of one more patient to the list, the city civic body said. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said these 17 foreign returnees to the city - 13 males and four females - have tested positive for
COVID-19 and have been hospitalized. In a statement, the civic body said so far nine close contacts of these patients - five women and four men - have also tested positive for coronavirus. One more returnee was added to the list on Tuesday, taking the tally to 17, the BMC said. All coronavirus positive air travellers have been admitted to hospitals and their swab samples sent for genome sequencing to find out if they are infected with the new Omicron variant of the virus, the release said. Genomic sequencing is a process to decode genes in SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, to help scientists find which variant might be present in swab samples. On Monday, a 37-year-old man who returned to Mumbai from South Africa on November 25 and his 36-year-old close contact, a woman who landed at the city airport from the US the same date, were found infected with the Omicron strain. They were the first two cases of the new variant detected in Mumbai. Maharashtra has so far reported 10 cases of the new variant. However, no new infection of Omicron came to light in the last 24 hours, the state health department said. The BMC has been carrying out COVID-19 tests on international travellers who are arriving at the Mumbai airport from at-risk countries to check if any of them is infected with Omicron, classified as a 'variant of concern' by the WHO. Passengers arriving from these nations, where Omicron cases have been detected, have to follow additional COVID-19 testing and quarantine measures. Countries in Europe, including the UK, and South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tanzania and Israel have been placed in the at risk category, according to the Civil Aviation Ministry. According to the Union Health Ministry's guidelines that came into force from December 1 following the emergence of Omicron, all passengers coming from at-risk countries have to compulsorily undergo RT-PCR test and 2 per cent of travellers arriving from other nations would have to take the test on a random basis.
  • December 08, 2021 / 11:07 PM IST

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  • December 08, 2021 / 10:40 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | Omicron will spread through Americas in time, warns regional health agency

    The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has so far been detected in the Americas in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and the United States, but it is just a matter of time before it circulates in more countries, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned on Wednesday. The regional health agency said coronavirus infections have turned up in Canada and parts of Mexico, such as Baja California. Except for Panama, Central America is experiencing a steep decline in cases. In South America, there has been a steady increase in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, while Ecuador, Chile and Argentina are reporting a drop, PAHO said. Research is ongoing to better understand Omicron's behavior and the potential risks for the Americas, PAHO director Carissa Etienne told reporters on a webcast news conference. "The arrival of a new variant doesn't necessarily mean that things will be worse, but it does mean that we must be extra-vigilant in the short term," she said. (Reuters)

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  • December 08, 2021 / 10:36 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | Show-cause notice issued to Air India, Vistara for violating COVID guidelines for international arrivals

    Authorities on Wednesday issued show-cause notices to Air India and Vistara for not complying with passenger boarding guidelines issued by the Centre following the emergence of Omicron variant of the coronavirus. They said four international passengers, one in Air India and three from Vistara, were allowed to board flights without filling their self-declaration forms (SDF). According to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on November 30, airlines are directed to allow boarding to only those international passengers who have filled up their personal details on Air Suvidha portal and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report. 

  • December 08, 2021 / 10:16 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | Total Covid vaccine doses administered in India crosses 130 crore, says health ministry

    The cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India crossed 130 crore on Wednesday, the Union Health Ministry said. Over 72 lakh vaccine doses were administered on Wednesday till 7 pm, it said. The ministry stated the daily vaccination tally is expected to increase with the compilation of the final reports for the day by late in the night.

  • December 08, 2021 / 09:46 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | Omicron may pose higher reinfection risk but could be milder than Delta: WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus 

    The World Health Organization chief said on Wednesday that preliminary data indicated the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may more easily reinfect people who have already had the virus or been vaccinated than previous variants, but could also cause milder disease. "Emerging data from South Africa suggests increased risk of reinfection with Omicron," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters, adding that there was "also some evidence that Omicron causes milder disease than Delta. (AFP)

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  • December 08, 2021 / 09:43 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | South Africa okays Covid vaccine boosters for adults

    South Africa on Wednesday approved Pfizer's coronavirus booster shots for over-18s, as the Omicron variant dominates rising new infections. The South African Health Products Authority said in a statement that it was authorising a third vaccine dose "in individuals aged 18 years and older, to be administered at least six months after the second dose". 

  • December 08, 2021 / 09:36 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | China approves Brii Biosciences' COVID-19 treatment 

    China's medical products regulator said on Wednesday it has approved the use of BRII Biosciences'  neutrialising antibody cocktail for COVID-19, the first treatment of its type against the disease approved in the country. The medicine, a combination of BRII-196/BRII-198, was approved to treat mild COVID-19 and the disease of "normal type" with high risk of progressing to hospitalization or death in adults and teenagers aged 12-17, the National Medical Products Administration said in a statement.

  • December 08, 2021 / 09:20 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | UK reports 131 new cases of Omicron coronavirus variant 

    Britain has reported 131 new cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the UK Health Security Agency said on Wednesday, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 568.

  • December 08, 2021 / 09:18 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | Madhya Pradesh logs 14 new COVID-19 cases; active infections at 140

    The COVID-19 tally in Madhya Pradesh rose to 7,93,288, after 14 persons tested positive for the infection on Wednesday, an official from the state health department said. As many as 13 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the count of recoveries to 7,82,619, while the toll stood at 10,529, as no fresh casualties were reported during the day, he said. The central state is now left with 140 active cases, he said. With 57,328 swab samples examined during the day, the number of tests conducted in the state went up to 2,23,22,163, the official added. 

  • December 08, 2021 / 09:00 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | Maharashtra sees 893 new cases, 10 deaths; no Omicron case reported in last 24 hours

    Maharashtra reported 893 new coronavirus positive cases and 10 deaths, but did not record any new Omicron variant case in the last 24 hours, the health department said on Wednesday. With the fresh COVID-19 cases, the state's overall infection tally reached 66,40,888 and the toll rose to 1,41,204, it said. On Tuesday, Maharashtra had recorded 669 coronavirus cases and 19 fatalities. The health bulletin said 1,040 patients were discharged in the last 24 hours, which pushed the recovery count to 64,89,720. The state's recovery rate stands at 97.72 per cent, while the fatality rate is 2.12 per cent, it said. A total of 6,63,88,902 tests have bee conducted in the state so far, 1,33,358 of them in the last 24 hours. Currently, 74,170 people are in home quarantine and 891 others in institutional quarantine, the department added. On the new strain of the virus, the bulletin said, "There is no new case of Omicron variant in the state today. As of today, there are 10 cases of Omicron variant in the state," it added. A total of 46,590 international travellers arrived in the state through the Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur airports. 

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  • December 08, 2021 / 08:57 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | Jharkhand Health & Disaster Management Minister Banna Gupta: Jharkhand govt to give Rs 50,000 ex-gratia from State Disaster Management Department Fund to the kin of persons who died of COVID. All Dy Commissioners have been directed to ensure the distribution of amount.

  • December 08, 2021 / 08:42 PM IST

    COVID-19 Omicron Threat | Tamil Nadu reports 703 new cases, 11 deaths 

    Tamil Nadu reports 703 new cases, 728 recoveries, and 11 deaths today. Active cases 7,946

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