Covid cases top 1.17 lakh; infection spreads among doctors, health workers


India revised the home quarantine rules for international arrivals as the country’s Covid-19 count surged to more than 1.17 lakh infections on Friday. All major metros reported a rapid surge with high positivity rate, with Delhi, Mumbai and West Bengal leading the charts and worries mounting over doctors and health workers contracting the fast-spreading virus strain.

The weekly positivity rate in the country stood at 4.54 per cent and the daily positivity rate stood at 7.74 per cent. The country’s active caseload was at 3,71,363, constituting 1.05 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.

In the National Capital, the Covid cases surged to 17,335 with nine deaths on Friday. In Maharashtra, too, the cases remained high at 20,971 cases with six deaths.

The Omicron tally in the country stood at 3,007 with Maharashtra reporting the maximum number of 876 cases, followed by Delhi (465 )and Karnataka (333).

The weekend curfews and the scare of restrictions spooked the the hospitality and travel industry while governments rushed to contain super-spreader events. After the cancellation of the Vibrant Gujarat summit, Rajasthan nixedits investment summit scheduled for January 24-25.

Scare about health workers

Although the hospitalisation rate is largely low, at around 3-7 per cent, compared to the Delta wave’s 20 per cent, the high transmissibility of the virus, especially among healthcare workers and doctors, is causing concern.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) estimates that about 10 per cent of healthcare workers across the country are positive. After 220 resident doctors tested positive in Mumbai, around 200 doctors across Delhi are believed to have contracted the virus, said sources.

International travel norms

The Health Ministry issued new guidelines for all international arrivals including a seven-day quarantine even if they have tested negative. Passengers will have to test again on the eighth day of their arrival and if still negative, self-monitor for another seven days. The new rules come into effect from January 11.

No new Omicron case in AP

Andhra Pradesh reported 840 new cases out of the 37,849 samples tested in the last 24 hours. No new Omicron cases were detected.

Chennai leads TN tally

Tamil Nadu reported 8,981 new cases on Friday — with Chennai contributing to half of it with 4,531 infections. After 984 patients were discharged, the number of active cases stood at 30,817. Eight deaths were registered and 1,36,620 samples tested.

No curbs in Mumbai

Maharashtra refrained from imposing stricter travel and movement restrictions even as the cases mounted. Health Minister Rajesh Tope said there has been no rise in hospitalisation and use of oxygen. Tope said schools in Mumbai were closed because parents panicked. Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said there would be no lockdown.

New norms in Karnataka

Karnataka reported over 8,000 cases, with the positivity rate at 4.15 per cent. The government announced new Covid guidelines allowing engineering colleges in Bengaluru Urban to hold offline classes and advocates/law offices to function with 50 per cent capacity.

Bengal allows mela

The State recorded 15,421 new cases on Thursday and a positivity ratio of 24.71 per cent. However, the Calcutta High Court allowed the Gangasagar Mela, which begins on January 8, strictly following the Covid-19 restrictions.

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