India's tally for Omicron has seen a huge jump, particularly in Maharashtra and Delhi. No deaths have been reported yet in the country. States have seen an exponential rise in cases between December 17 and December 19, and several states are bringing restrictions back due to Christmas and New Year.
Here are the latest updates:
1. INDIA HAS 161 OMICRON CASES IN TOTAL NOW
Here's the states break-up:
Maharashtra - 54
Delhi - 24
Telangana - 20
Rajasthan - 17
Karnataka - 14
Kerala - 15
Gujarat - 9
West Bengal - 3
Uttar Pradesh- 2
Andhra Pradesh - 1
Chandigarh - 1
Tamil Nadu - 1
2. DELHI AND KERALA CONFIRM NEW OMICRON CASES
2 new cases of the Omicron variant were confirmed in Delhi on December 20. The state tally has now reached 24, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has appealed to the Centre to allow the administration of the Covid vaccine booster dose in Delhi. Kejriwal also said in a press conference on December 20, "Now all positive cases in Delhi will be sent for genome sequencing for Omicron. Earlier, we were testing those coming from the airport for Omicron, now we will test 100% of positive cases for Omicron."
Two more cases of Omicron variant of Covid detected in Delhi, total tally now 24; 12 patients discharged: Sources— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) December 20, 2021
4 cases of Omicron were also confirmed in Kerala on December 20. With the 4 new cases, Kerala's tally is now at 15.
Four new Omicron cases have been confirmed in Kerala today. Case tally now stands at 15: Kerala Health Minister's Office— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2021
3. TELANGANA BEGINS DETAINING PASSENGERS FROM NON-RISK COUNTRIES
Health authorities in Telangana have begun detaining passengers from non-risk countries till their RT-PCR report comes negative. This decision comes when out of 20 Omicron cases that were detected, 16 passengers were arrivals from non-risk countries.
Up until now, only two per cent of passengers arriving from non-risk countries were stopped for random RT-PCR tests and were allowed to proceed further without waiting for results.
But now, the state health authorities have begun detaining randomly selected passengers (250 per day) till their RT-PCR result comes negative. Passengers who test positive will be shifted to institutional quarantine.
4. VACCINE CERTIFICATES WITH NAMES LIKE 'AMIT SHA', 'NITEN GADHKARI' ISSUED IN ETAWAH, UTTAR PRADESH
Covid-19 vaccination certificates with the name of 'Amit Sha', 'Niten Gadkari' and 'Pushyu Goyal' have been allegedly issued by a healthcare centre in Takha tehsil, Etawah in Uttar Pradesh. These names are essentially wordplays on Union ministers Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal. Suspecting a "conspiracy", an official has deemed these certificates fake and said authorities have been asked to investigate the matter.
In these fake certificates, Amit Sha's age is 33 years, Niten Gadhkari's age is 30 and Pushyu Goyal's age is 37. These certificates also show that these three people were vaccinated with the first dose on December 12 at Sarsainawar CHC 1 in Etawah, and the date for the second dose has been fixed between March 5, 2022, and April 3, 2022. (READ MORE HERE: Covid vaccine certificates name 'Amit Sha', 'Pushyu Goyal' in UP, CMO orders probe)
5. PFIZER VACCINATED PATIENT TESTS OMICRON POSITIVE IN MAHARASHTRA
A 29-year-old New York returnee, vaccinated with three doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, tested positive for Omicron in Mumbai on December 17.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said in a release that the man landed in Mumbai on November 9. Later, they tracked him down and collected his swab samples for an RT-PCR test. The result was positive. Samples were then sent for genome sequencing to the National Institute of Virology in Pune. The institute confirmed on December 17 that he was infected with the Omicron variant.
According to the BMC, the patient was fully vaccinated with the two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the US itself. He had also taken a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine which is supposedly meant to provide additional protection against Covid-19.
6. BMC PUTS IN NEW RULES FOR CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS IN MAHARASHTRA
In lieu with the rising Omicron cases in Maharashtra, the BMC has asked people to refrain from Christmas and New Year paties and said that strict action will be taken against those breaking Covid-19 rules. The BMC has also issued new rules that say:
a. For events/ceremonies held in a closed hall, only 50% of the total capacity of the hall is allowed to be in attendence.
b. For events/ceremonies being held in open space, only 25% of attendance will be allowed.
c. If more than 1,000 people are expected to attend any event in an open space, prior notice has to be given to the local Disaster Management Authority.
d. All hotels, restaurants, cinemas, all other government, and private establishments in Maharashtra must strictly adhere to the Covid-19 prohibition instructions.
e. Those with complete covid vaccination will be allowed to travel in public transport. Otherwise, strict action will be taken.
f. All people working in public places/establishments and attendees at events/ceremonies, must be completely vaccinated. If any violation is found, action will be taken against the concerned establishment.
g. Proper use of masks, regular hand hygiene, safekeeping distance, regular cleaning, and disinfection of all premises/rooms/toilets from time to time is mandatory.