Coronavirus live updates | 95% of India’s adult population given first dose of Covid vaccine, 74% fully inoculated: Health Ministry


The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the COVID-19 guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act till February 28.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said in a letter to States that due to the current COVID wave, led by the new variant, Omicron, there has been a steady increase in the number of COVID cases in the country and the active cases have increased to over 22 lakhs.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the updates:


95% of India’s adult population given first dose of Covid vaccine, 74% fully inoculated: Health Ministry

95% of India’s eligible adult population has been administered the first dose of Covid vaccine while 74% are fully inoculated, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday as the total vaccine doses administered has crossed 164.35 crore.  Till 7 p.m., 49,69,805 vaccine doses have been administered.

As many as 1,03,04,847 precaution doses have been administered to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities.

Also 4,42,81,254 adolescents in the 15-18 years age group have been given the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. – PTI


England lifts Covid-19 restrictions as omicron threat recedes

Most coronavirus restrictions, including mandatory face masks, were lifted in England on Thursday after Britain’s government said its vaccine booster rollout successfully reduced serious illness and COVID-19 hospitalizations.

From Thursday, face coverings are no longer required by law anywhere in England, and a legal requirement for COVID-19 passes for entry into nightclubs and other large venues has been scrapped.

The government last week dropped its advice for people to work from home, as well as guidance for face coverings in classrooms. From next week, restrictions on the number of visitors to nursing homes will also be lifted. – AP


Mandaviya to review Covid situation in eight States, UTs on Friday

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will on Friday review the Covid situation and the public health preparedness to tackle the omicron spread in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The review meeting, to be held through video conferencing, is scheduled at 2.30 pm on Friday.

Earlier this week, the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia INSACOG said that Omicron is in the community transmission stage in India. – PTI


Omicron in 79% of samples sequenced in January in Delhi

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has been found in 79% of the samples from Delhi sequenced between January 1 and January 23, according to government data.  The Delta variant, which drove the ferocious second wave of COVID-19 infections in April and May last year, was found in 13.70% of the 2,503 samples sequenced during the period.  The data showed that of the 863 samples sequenced between December 25 and December 31, around 50% (433) carried Omicron, while 34% (293) had the Delta variant.  Across India, Omicron accounted for 75% of the total samples sequenced in January, according to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). – PTI


German parliament approves climate spending with unused COVID support funds

Germany’s lower house on Thursday suspended constitutional limits on new borrowing for another year and approved a supplementary budget to fund investments needed to transition the economy toward carbon neutrality.

The debt-financed supplementary budget of $66.92 billion was passed in a 382-283 vote in the Bundestag where Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) have a majority.

The conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavaria-based Christian Social Union (CSU) sister party want to petition the Constitutional Court to strike down the budget. – Reuters


Australia drugs regulator approves COVID-19 boosters for 16 and 17-year-olds

Australia’s drug regulator on Friday approved the use of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for 16- and 17-year-olds as authorities urge people to get their third doses soon to mitigate the threat from the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said it had approved Pfizer’s vaccine for use as a booster in youths aged 16-17, joining the United States, Israel and Britain.

Australia is among the most heavily vaccinated countries against COVID-19 with more than 93% of its adult population double-dosed and some 35% of people above 18 having received a booster dose, according to official data. It began administering vaccines to children aged 5-11 from early this month. – Reuters


Centre extends COVID-19 guidelines till February 28

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the COVID-19 guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act till February 28.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said in a letter to States that due to the current COVID wave, led by the new variant, Omicron, there has been a steady increase in the number of COVID cases in the country and the active cases have increased to over 22 lakhs.

“Though a majority of active cases are recovering fast and a low percentage of cases are in hospitals, it is still a matter of concern that 407 districts in 34 States and Union Territories are reporting a positivity rate of more than 10%. Therefore, looking at the current trends of COVID virus, there is a need to exercise caution and vigilance,” the letter said. States were asked to observe all precautions and not let the guard down.



India reports 2.4 lakh fresh COVID-19 cases on January 27, 2022

The country recorded 2,40,495 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. The total number of infections has reached 4.03 crore, and the active cases have crossed the 33.5 lakh mark.

The figures are based on the State bulletins released until 9.30 p.m. on Thursday. However, Ladakh, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jharkhand and Lakshadweep had not yet released data for the day.

Kerala recorded 51,739 infections on Thursday, followed by Karnataka (38,083) and Tamil Nadu (28,515).



Pay attention to breakthrough COVID-19 infections, says study

The mechanisms by which virus variants escape vaccine-induced immunity must be studied thoroughly in the near future. A paper in the International Journal of Scientific Study, that studied breakthrough infections after vaccination among diabetics in Chennai, has called for extensive research on the nature of these infections and how and why they are possible.

The article by V. Balaji et al, concluded in their study done at Dr. V. Balaji Dr. V. Seshiah Diabetes Care and Research Institute in Chennai, showed breakthrough infections occurring in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Of 3,243 patients who stepped into hospital and were vaccinated (either completely or partially), Dr. Balaji says, over 1% reported being infected with COVID-19 after vaccination. Of this 1%, 11 patients had severe to critical illness and required hospitalisation. Mild to moderate infection was observed in 25 patients who were quarantined, and one person had no symptoms and an incidental test showed him to be COVID-19 positive.



Plea in Delhi High Court to postpone polls in five States

A petition filed before the Delhi High Court has sought direction to the Election Commission to postpone the upcoming election in all five States for a few months or weeks in view of the ongoing wave of COVID-19.

The petition filed by Congress leader Jagdish Sharma said there was a growing concern of new variants, which are posing a grave threat of infection, especially in Delhi.

Mr. Sharma said: “Our health infrastructure is dangerously outstretched, understaffed and under resourced”. He claimed that many State governments and the Central government had assured to the people that they will build an infrastructure which can face any upcoming pandemic situation.



Traders relieved as Delhi government eases COVID restrictions

Traders and market association heads expressed a sigh of relief after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority announced the lifting of weekend curfew and the odd-even rule for shops in the Capital.

However, most of them said the authorities concerned should “consult with stakeholders” before imposing restrictions that can “result in economic distress”.

Cinema halls and restaurants have been permitted to reopen at 50% capacity, while the cap for guests at weddings now stands at 200. However, the night curfew will continue to be in effect while educational institutions will remain shut.


West Bengal

Pressure mounts for re–opening of schools in West Bengal

The COVID-19 situation in West Bengal has improved significantly with the State registering a positivity rate of less than 10% — it was 9.02% on Thursday — in the past few days. The number of new infections in the past 24 hours was 3,608 and the active cases dropped to 55,725 but the number of deaths has remained high. While 36 persons have died due to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the State has recorded more than 30 deaths in the past few days.

With the situation showing signs of improvement, pressure is mounting on the State government to re–open educational institutions. Over the past few days, supporters of the Left student organisations have protested in the streets demanding re–opening of schools. During the day, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari along with BJP MLAs held a demonstration in front of the Bikash Bhawan, headquarters of the School Education Department. Mr. Adhikari said he wanted to meet officials to know the reason for not opening educational institutions.


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