The first day of the new year has grim news on the COVID front.
Delhi recorded a huge 50 per cent surge in infections on Saturday, with 2,716 new cases, while Mumbai reported 6,347 new COVID cases in 24 hours – a 12 per cent increase from Friday. One death each has been reported in both cities.
In Delhi, around 3.64 per cent of COVID tests are returning positive – a high rate considered one of the first signs of an impending wave of infections.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, fearing a deluge of infections, has reactivated its ward-level “war rooms” to tackle the crisis.
Saturday also saw 1,431 Omicron infections, with Maharashtra reporting the maximum cases at 454.
The new COVID variant has spread to 23 states, with Maharashtra followed by Delhi with 351 infections, Tamil Nadu the third worst-affected state with 118 cases, followed by Gujarat with 115 cases. With 109 cases, Kerala is the fifth worst-affected state.
India also witnessed a 35 per cent jump in new COVID cases as it reported 22,775 infections on Saturday. Active cases account for 0.30 per cent of the total caseload and the daily positivity rate is at 2.05 per cent, the health ministry said.
COVID cases in West Bengal have tripled over the past three days with the number of new infections at 1,954 on Friday. The state is likely to go into partial lockdown from January 3 with a spurt in fresh cases in capital Kolkata. In the south, Karnataka has reported more than 1,000 cases after months.
The biggest challenge India will face amid the Omicron crisis will be the sudden need for medical care, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said recently. “The surge is going to be very fast and many people are going to be sick,” she warned.
The central government has, meanwhile, directed states to test anyone with fever, headache, sore throat, breathlessness, body ache, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, and diarrhoea and they are to be considered as suspect COVID cases.