India has recorded 781 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus across 21 states and Union Territories so far out of which 241 people have recovered or migrated, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday.
Delhi recorded the maximum number of 238 cases followed by Maharashtra at 167, Gujarat 73, Kerala 65 and Telangana 62.
Meanwhile, with 9,195 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,48,08,886, while the active cases increased to 77,002 , according to the data updated at 8 am. The death toll has climbed to 4,80,592 with 302 fresh fatalities, the data stated.
So let's bring you up to speed with what's happening across the country with regard to a surge in COVID-19 cases and its variant Omicron.
At 238, Delhi has recorded the maximum number of cases in the country. The national capital on Tuesday registered a massive spike in daily COVID-19 with 496 fresh cases, the highest since 4 June, while the positivity rate rose to 0.89 percent along with one fatality due to coronavirus in the city.
A yellow alert has been issued in the city limiting passengers in public transport. Schools, colleges, gyms, cinema halls have been closed in an emergency measure while restaurants and bars have been allowed to operate only at 50 percent capacity.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority also extended the timing of the night curfew, imposed from Monday night, by an hour and it will now begin at 10 pm and will remain till 5 am.
Maharashtra has reported 167 Omicron cases so far of which 72 have recovered and have been discharged. Amid the surge in the Omicron cases, the Uddhav Thackeray-led government on Friday ordered re-imposition of night curfew in the state. According to the order, night curfew will be in place between 9pm to 6am. The circular further reads that restaurants, gyms, spas, cinemas halls will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity attendance. All of them will have to declare their full potential as well as 50 percent capacity, it added.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra reported a 75-day high in new COVID-19 infections with 2,172 cases on Tuesday. The surge in cases has pushed Mumbai's daily positivity rate to four percent, a seven-fold increase from the PR on 1 December. The city has not had such a high positivity rate since May when the second wave had started to recede.
Gujarat has so far reported 73 new Omicron cases. Meanwhile, the state reported 394 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, its highest single-day addition since 14 June when the figure was 405, raising the state's tally to 8,29,957. The last time the number of cases crossed 300 was on 15 June, when 352 people were detected with the infection.
The Gujarat government extended the duration of night curfew in eight cities by two hours. The curfew is now in force from 11 pm to 5 am instead of 1 am to 5 am. The new time will be implemented from 25 December in the cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Gandhinagar. "Commercial activities in shops, restaurants, shopping complexes, marketing yards, marts, hair cutting saloons, beauty parlours among others in these eight cities are allowed to remain open till 11 pm,” said the notification.
Kerala has reported 65 Omicron cases so far and less than 2,000 COVID-19 infections in the last two days. In a bid to control the rise in cases the state has decided to impose night-time restrictions for four days starting 30 December 30. They will be in force from 10 pm to 5 am and new year celebrations would not be allowed after 10 pm.
The Telangana government has banned rallies and public meetings in the state till 2 January in view of the Omicron threat, the state has 62 Omicron cases so far. Acting on the direction of the Telangana High Court, the state government issued a Government Order (GO) imposing the curbs on public gatherings. However, the state has not banned New Year celebrations as of now.
Following a surge in COVID-19 cases, Uttar Pradesh was declared as a COVID-affected state. Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad in an order dated 27 December, said the decision has been taken after assessing the situation.
Prasad in the order said that under Section 3 of the Uttar Pradesh Public Health and Epidemic Control Act, 2020, the entire state has been declared as COVID-affected.
The announcement will be in effect till 31 March, 2022 or till further orders are given, whichever is earlier, it read.
The state has imposed night curfew in view of rising Omicron cases from 25 December onwards. The duration of the night curfew is 11 pm to 5 am.
According to a Hindu report, with Omicron on the rise, the third wave of coronavirus could hit the peak by February with cases likely to be reaching up to 1-1.5 lakh a day in the country, according to Manindra Agarwal, IIT scientist involved in the mathematical projection of trajectory of COVID-19, said. Therefore considering the threat and with elections slated in five states next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding a Council of Ministers on Wednesday to deliberate on the situation.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has categorised the risks related to the Omicron variant as very high in its COVID-19 weekly epidemiological update released on Wednesday.
With input from agencies