Precautionary doses start as cases rise and States clamp down


Close to 10 lakh precautionary doses were given to front-line and healthcare workers besides senior citizens on Monday, the first day of administering the third dose in the country. This comes as the Centre cautions States to stay vigilant on rising Covid-19 and Omicron/Delta cases, and the “evolving and dynamic” situation of hospitalisations.

At present, about 5-10 per cent of active cases require hospitalisation against 20-23 per cent during the second wave last year, the Union Health Ministry said as it urged States and UTs to keep a daily watch on the rapidly changing scenario including the number of active cases, and those under home isolation, hospitalised and on oxygen/ ICU or ventilator support.

India reported 1,79,723 new cases and 146 deaths in 24 hours, up to Monday morning. The Omicron tally stood at 4,033, with Maharashtra at 1,216 cases, Rajasthan at 529 and Delhi at 513 cases. On Monday, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also reviewed the preparedness for containment and management of Covid-19 with the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.

Also see: Omicron should not be categorised as ‘mild’: WHO chief

As cases were seen rising in healthcare workers as well, the Health Ministry urged States and UTs to restrict elective procedures in hospitals. It also recommended appointing retired medical professionals and MBBS students for tele-consultation services and use district hospitals, medical college hospitals for e-OPD services and tele-consultations.

According to the CoWin dashboard, over 9.68 lakh precautionary doses were administered at 7 pm, even as the total number of vaccinations crossed 89 lakh.

Tightening restrictions

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the third wave of Covid-19 had started in the State and the peak would be end January. However, he added, there was no need to worry as only 2 per cent of active patients were on oxygen and 1 per cent in the ICU.

States, including Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala, clamped down on gatherings as cases mounted.

Andhra Pradesh imposed State-wide night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy asked authorities to set up Covid care centres in each of the State’s 175 assembly constituencies. The Telangana government extended the ban on public meetings, rallies and religious events till January 20. Kerala, however, refrained from imposing weekend or night curfew. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan decided to re-impose the cap on gatherings at maximum of 50. The Delhi government imposed additional curbs and asked restaurants to shut down dine-in facilities while allowing take-away. It has also decided to allow operations of only one weekly market per day per zone.

Also see: Hospitals burdened as staff, doctors contract Covid

After seeing a steady rise for over a week, West Bengal registered a decline in new Covid-19 cases, at 19,286. Positivity rate stood at 37.32 per cent. Meanwhile, the annual Ganga Sagar Mela — which attracts lakhs of pilgrims to the Sagar Island during Makar Sankranti — began on Sunday following the nod by the Calcutta High Court.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and MoS Ajay Bhatt have tested positive for Covid-19, as did Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. All three are under home isolation.

With inputs from our Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata Bureaus

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