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Rising Covid Infections A Concern For States, Is The Third Wave Inevitable?
NEW DELHI: Amid new variants like Omicron and Delmicron, COVID cases have increased sharply this past week. India daily COVID cases have seen a sharp 45% spike on Wednesday. Especially in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata. COVID restrictions have also been imposed in some of the states. A total of 9,195 new cases were reported on Wednesday taking India’s daily positivity rate to 0.79%. Omicron cases have also jumped to 800 in India. Delhi tops the list with 238 Omicron cases, followed by Maharashtra which added 167 cases. Several states including West Bengal and Rajasthan have also reported fresh Omicron cases on Wednesday.
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The rising number of cases have become a matter of concern for the state governments already. On the other hand, with the New year celebrations around the corner people have started crowding in tourist spots like Goa, Nainital, Shimla, Kashmir etc. Also, with the upcoming assembly elections which are scheduled for early next year election campaigns are also on swing. Altogether, health experts have predicted that the number of cases may peak during the 1st week of February.
After Delhi recorded over 331 new COVID-19 cases, the Delhi govt sounded the yellow alert on Tuesday limiting passengers on public transport. Schools, colleges, cinema halls, gyms to remain shut. Restaurants, bars have been allowed to operate between 8 am-10 pm & 12 noon – 10 pm respectively. Delhi on Wednesday recorded 923 new cases, the highest daily spike in COVID cases in Delhi since May 30 taking the positivity rate to 1.29 per cent.
On Wednesday reported over 2510 COVID cases on Wednesday, a steep rise from 809 cases on Monday. Maharashtra is also among the worst hit states by the new Omicron variant. Maharashtra has reported 179 cases to become the second most affected state after Delhi that reported 238 omicron cases. In the wake of rising infections in the city, Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray on Wednesday urged people not to panic, but to exercise extreme caution in the wake of the sharp rise in coronavirus cases in Mumbai and stressed on vaccination and widespread use of face masks. Maharashtra government has also imposed a COVID related night curfew between 11 pm and 5 am. The government has also warned of lockdown-like restrictions if cases continue to rise.
West Bengal also saw a massive jump in COVID infections on Tuesday with 752 new cases from 439 cases on Monday. Bengal is one of the worst hit states by the new Omicron variant. West Bengal reported over 11 cases so far of which only one patient has recovered. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said that the govt may have to shut down schools and colleges once again after educational institutes were reopened on November 16 in the state. In an administrative meeting the chief minister asked her officials to review the situation and identify containment zones within Kolkata as the city reported a high rate of infections.
Earlier, the Mamata govt also imposed restrictions against COVID 19 in the state to last until January 15. Which also includes night curfew between 11 pm and 5 am. However, the restrictions were relaxed between December 24 – January 1 in view of Christmas and new year eve.
The state of Kerala logged 2846 fresh COVID cases on Tuesday. The state also reported 2,576 recoveries from the infection in the day, when the Test Positivity Rate was 4.07%. Kerala is also among the omicron hit states; it has reported over 64 omicron cases so far. The Kerala Govt has also decided to impose night curfew from December 30 to January 2 in order to control new year parties after 11 pm.
Goa, where the daily count of COVID cases remained under 100 in the past few months, reported its first Omicron case on Monday. Goa has over 535 active Covid cases at present. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that he will be observing the state’s Covid-19 situation till January 1. CM Sawant told the media that being a touristic state the govt cannot take decision on night curfew hastily. “Decision on restrictions will be taken on 3rd January after the task force meeting if cases and positivity rate keeps increasing”, said the Goa chief minister.
On the other hand, The Uttarakhand High Court has issued a notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a plea seeking postponement of upcoming assembly elections in the State in view of the threat posed by rising number of covid cases and the new Omicron variant.
The central government has told states to impose restrictions to control crowds during year-end celebrations, urging them “not to let their guard down” as coronavirus cases rise amid fear of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the virus.