Here are the updates:
Kriya Medical Tech gets ICMR approval for COVID-19 testing kit
Chennai-based medical device firm Kriya Medical Technologies on Thursday said it has received Indian Council of Medical Research approval for Krivida Novus COVID-19 testing kit—developed in collaboration with ImmuGenix Bioscience—that can also detect the Omicron variant.
The kit detects the SARS-CoV-2 virus and also differentiates the Omicron variant from Delta and other variants. The test takes about 45 minutes to detect the infection and determine the variant, the company said in a statement.
New Zealand says it won’t use lockdowns when Omicron spreads
New Zealand is among the few remaining countries to have avoided any outbreaks of the omicron variant — but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Thursday an outbreak was inevitable and the nation would tighten restrictions as soon as one was detected.
But she also said that New Zealand would not impose the lockdowns that it has used previously, including for the delta variant.
“This stage of the pandemic is different to what we have dealt with before. Omicron is more transmissible,” Ms. Ardern said.- AP
China suspends six more flights from the United States over COVID cases
China’s aviation regulator will suspend six more fights from the United States, it said on Thursday, taking to 96 the total cancellations this year, based on a Reuters tally.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China ordered American Airlines to cancel two flights from Dallas to the commercial hub of Shanghai from the week of Feb. 7.
It also ordered China Southern Airlines to suspend four more flights from Los Angeles to the southern city of Guangzhou from Feb. 28, which stands to affect return flights to China in March.- Reuters
Daily rise in COVID-19 cases in India highest in 249 days
India logged 3,17,532 new coronavirus infections, the highest in 249 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,82,18,773, which includes 9,287 cases of the Omicron variant, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.
The active cases rose to 19,24,051, the highest in 234 days, while the death toll climbed to 4,87,693 with 491 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated.
There has been a 3.63 per cent increase in Omicron cases since Wednesday, the ministry said.- PTI
U.S. weary from COVID-19 but in a better place now, says Biden
President Joe Biden has acknowledged that the pandemic has left Americans exhausted and demoralised but insisted at a news conference marking his first year in office that he has “outperformed” expectations in dealing with it.
He said on Wednesday that he would likely have to settle for “big chunks” of his signature economic package to break an impasse in Congress and further attack inflation and the pandemic.
Panel recommends regular market approval for Covishield and Covaxin
The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has recommended granting regular market approval to COVID-19 vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, in the adult population, subject to certain conditions, confirmed an official on Wednesday.
Both the vaccines are currently only authorised for emergency use in India and their application was reviewed for the second time on Wednesday before the recommendations were made, he said.
U.S. begins offering free COVID test kits, but doubts persist
For the first time, all Americans can log on to a government website and order free, at-home COVID-19 tests. But the White House push may do little to ease the omicron surge, and experts say Washington will have to do a lot more to fix the country’s long-troubled testing system.
The website, COVIDTests.gov, allows people to order four at-home tests per household and have them delivered by mail. But the tests won’t arrive for seven to 12 days, after omicron cases are expected to peak in many parts of the U.S.
The White House also announced Wednesday that it will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free at pharmacies and community health centers.- AP
‘Will review restrictions after 3-4 days’: Delhi govt.
The Delhi government will monitor the COVID-19 situation for three to four days before reviewing the current pandemic-related restrictions, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Wednesday.
“The positivity rate at present is 22.5%. It’s not low enough to lift the curbs. We will see what happens in the next three to four days. It had gone up to 30%. Let it reduce to half,” the Minister said when asked about easing restrictions. For the past one week, the daily hospital admissions are not increasing, he added.
Govt. re-activates 21 monitoring centres to help migrant workers amid pandemic
Union labour ministry on Wednesday said it has re-activated 21 monitoring centres across the country to help mitigate the problems faced by migrant workers through co-ordination with various state governments amid the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Once the pandemic situation eases, labour minister Bhupender Yadav and his deputy S. Rameshwar Teli will travel extensively, interact with working class as well as with labour union members and gather their views on implementation of various welfare and social security measures, according to a statement.- PTI
COVID-19 situation under control, says BMC
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday assured the Bombay High Court that the current COVID-19 situation in the city was “under control and there was no reason for citizens to panic.”
Senior counsel Anil Sakhre representing the civic body informed a division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M.S. Karnik that Mumbai was witnessing a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in the third wave of the pandemic.
Greece imposes rolling fines to push COVID-19 vaccinations in older people
Greece has begun imposing recurring fines on those over the age of 60 who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 to try to boost inoculation in the most vulnerable age group even as infection rates from the fast-spreading Omicron variant are slowing.
After hitting an all-time high of 50,126 registered coronavirus infections on Jan. 4, mainly driven by the spread of the Omicron variant over the Christmas holidays, cases have been falling in recent days.- Reuters
India’s new COVID-19 cases cross 3-lakh mark on January 19, 2022
For the first time in the ongoing COVID-19 wave, the number of cases in India crossed the 3 lakh mark. The country recorded 3,13,603 new COVID-19 cases on January 19, a 27% increase from a week ago. The total number of infections has reached 3.8 crore, and the active cases have crossed the 18.9 lakh mark. Data for Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Lakshadweep and Tripura were not available as of 10 p.m.