Authorities in India announced more curbs on Tuesday as coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases continued to rise across the country amid the spread of the Omicron variant. Several political leaders, including Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, tested positive for Covid-19, prompting them to self isolate themselves. Meanwhile, the United States reported 1 million Covid cases in a single day, the highest-ever number reported by the country within 24 hours. While the world is still grappling with the new variant of concern, a more mutated strain identified by researchers in France has caused fresh concerns.
Take a look at the top Covid stories of the day:
- Hospitalisations in the US due to Covid-19 has hit a record high in nearly four months, with over 100,000 people currently admitted. The US reported a worrying surge in hospitalisation as the country recorded one million infections in a single day.
- Researchers in France identified a new strain of coronavirus with more mutations than the Omicron variant. The new variant, as per the study, harbours both substitutions N501Y and E484K in the spike protein. At least 12 cases of the new variant, named IHU, have been reported in southeastern France, and the index case has been linked to travel history from Cameroon.
- The Delhi government announced a weekend curfew for the national capital after a meeting with the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) as the test positivity rate for Covid-19 showed a sustained rise.
- The Delhi government later directed all private hospitals and nursing homes with 50 or more beds to reserve at least 40 per cent of their total bed capacity for Covid-19 patients.
- Maharashtra reported 18,466 new infections, of which Mumbai contributed 10,606 Covid cases. The exponential surge in Covid cases in India’s financial capital could prompt the authorities to impose lockdown-like restrictions. Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar warned that lockdown will be imposed in the city if daily Covid cases cross the 20,000-mark.
- Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel directed authorities to ban rallies, procession and other public events in all districts. Baghel also ordered ‘night clamp down’ from 10pm to 6am in districts with more than 4% test positivity rate.
- The West Bengal government informed the ministry of civil aviation that it will allow flights from Mumbai and Delhi three days a week in view of the current Covid-19 situation in the two metropolitan cities.
- More than 60 people at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, tested positive for Covid-19. A hostel of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Kolkata was declared as a containment zone.
- The Bihar government decided to impose a night curfew for a fortnight starting January 6 amid rising Covid cases.
- New Covid cases in Odisha rose by over 62 per cent as the state reported 680 infections on Tuesday.