India has reported 25 cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 but none of the patients have reported severe symptoms, Union Health Ministry’s Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said on Friday, amid global alarm over the new strain of the coronavirus.
The Joint Secretary also added that the symptoms in all detected cases are “mild” and account for 0.04 per cent of the total variants detected.
While addressing a health briefing, Agarwal said, “Overall 25 Omicron cases in the country so far. All detected cases have mild symptoms. Less than 0.04 per cent of total variants detected.”
Pressing on the need to strictly follow the COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB), Agarwal said, “World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted that the public health measures should be abided by on a continual, besides vaccination. Adequate precautions have to be followed…Laxity in public health measures is leading to a surge in cases in Europe.”
Further, he said that only two countries had reported Omicron cases till November 24, which has now risen to 59 countries.
“These 59 countries have reported 2,936 Omicron cases. Besides this, 78,054 probable cases were detected- their genome sequencing is underway,” Agarwal said.
Talking about overall COVID-19 cases in India, Agarwal informed that the overall positivity rate was at 0.73 per cent in the last week.
He also added that less than 10,000 cases have been reported in India in the last 14 days; of which the active cases were highest in two states- Kerala and Maharashtra with over 43 per cent active cases in the former and over 10 per cent in the latter.
J&K Reports 8 Covid-19 Deaths, 5606 New Cases
Jammu and Kashmir reported 5606 new COVID cases while eight persons succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours, officials said on Wednesday.
They said 1353 cases have been reported from Jammu Division and 4253 from Kashmir Valley, taking the overall tally to 414772.
Regarding the deaths, they said, four each was reported from the Jammu division and Kashmir Valley respectively. So far 4635 people have died due to the virus—2264 in the Jammu division and 2371 in Kashmir Valley.
On Tuesday, J&K reported the biggest-ever daily spike of 6570 cases since the pandemic started in 2020.
Giving district-wise details regarding the fresh infections, the officials told GNS that Srinagar reported 1305 cases, Baramulla 440, Budgam 803, Pulwama 134, Kupwara 380, Anantnag 528, Bandipora 66, Ganderbal 297, Kulgam 265, Shopian 35, Jammu 678, Udhampur 129, Rajouri 78, Doda 84, Kathua 38, Samba 84, Kishtwar 10, Poonch 49, Ramban 181 and Reasi 22.
There has been a surge in covid-19 cases in J&K since the start of the New Year. On January 1, J&K reported 169 cases, 165 cases on January 2, 178 on January 3, 199 on January 4, 418 on January 5, 349 on January 6, 542 on January 7, 655 on January 8, 687 on January 9, 706 on January 10, 1148, on January 11, 1695, on January 12, 1966, on January 13, 2456, on January 14, 3251 on January 15, 3499 on January 16, 2817, on January 17, 4651 on January 18 and 5818 on January 19 and 5992 on January 20, 5720 on January 21 and 6253 on January 22 and 5394 on January 24.
Besides, they said, 5005 Covid-19 patients recovered during the time—1592 from Jammu Division and 3413 from Kashmir. So far 362168 people have recovered, leaving active case tally at 47969—13569 in Jammu and 34400 in Kashmir.
They said there was no new confirmed case of mucormycosis (black fungus) reported today. So far 51 black fungus cases have been confirmed in J&K, the officials said.
They also informed that 16040 doses of the covid-19 vaccine were administered during the time in J&K.
60 die of COVID-19 in Jammu region in January
Omicron-led COVID-19 wave claimed a toll of sixty persons across the Jammu region in the month of January. Out of them, 35 deaths were reported from the Jammu district only.
However, the district saw a drop of 355 cases in the last 24 hours. As per the figures of infected cases released by the health department today, 849 cases were recorded in the Jammu district and they included 14 travellers.
Yesterday, the health department had recorded as many as 1204 positive cases and the number included 20 travellers.
Jammu district has not only recorded the maximum number of positive cases as compared to the rest of the districts in the region, it has topped the chart in case of deaths also with 35 fatalities in the last 25 days.
As per the officials, no COVID death had so far taken place in the Samba district.
Of total 60 deaths in the Jammu region, the official said, “35 died in Jammu district, 4 in Udhampur, 5 in Rajouri, 2 in Doda, 5 in Kathua, 1 in Kishtwar, 4 in Poonch, 2 in Ramban and 2 in Reasi district.”
“Majority of COVID infected persons had co-morbidity and they were suffering from severe illness or they were aged,” an official added while saying that the situation was being monitored by the authorities in a coordinated manner with the civil administration.
Today only, Jammu district recorded five deaths including one at DRDO Jammu and another resident of Nowshera (Rajouri) also died here, thus taking the toll to 6 in a single day. In all, the region reported seven deaths today.
An official said, “One person from Nowshera, a youth from Bishnah, another man from R S Pura, one person from Paloura and a resident of Gandhi Nagar were undergoing treatment at GMC Jammu’s COVID care ward.”
However, they could not survive the deadly infection, the official added.
The official said, “Of these, four infected persons from Gandhi Nagar, Nowshera, RS Pura and Paloura were fully vaccinated (had taken both the doses).”
A 26-year old youth from Bishnah was admitted to the GMC Jammu hospital after he suffered injuries in a road mishap.
“During his treatment, he tested positive for COVID-19. However, he could not survive. He died of COVID-19 infection today,” the official added.
Meanwhile, an 82-year old man also died of COVID-19 at DRDO Bhagwati Nagar (Jammu) after he developed severe complications.
“He was admitted to the DRDO Hospital on January 21 and since then, he had been on a ventilator,” said an official.
The official said that the deceased was a chain smoker and had problems related to hypertension. “His co-morbid conditions proved fatal for him,” he added.
Admin issues guidelines for foreign travellers testing COVID positive
In line with the protocols in other states, the foreign travellers arriving in J&K, who were mandatorily admitted at DRDO COVID19 Hospital in case they tested positive, can now isolate at home in case they are asymptomatic, according to the fresh instructions from Health and Medical Education Department of J&K Government.
Additional Chief Secretary J&K Government Health and Medical Education, Vivek Bhardwaj while speaking to the media said that travellers
with a history of the visit to a foreign country found positive upon arrival in J&K can isolate themselves at home if asymptomatic. “Only symptomatic travellers will be taken to DRDO Hospital,” he said. The ACS said the guidelines were being reviewed as per the updates issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
However, many travellers who have arrived in J&K in the past few days have flagged the inconsistency in the isolation and quarantine protocols here. A traveller while speaking to the media said that even though most of them are asymptomatic, those with a foreign travel history are admitted at DRDO COVID19 Hospital Khanmoh. “The travellers can isolate at home, the same way thousands of people are isolating at home in J&K at present,” he said.
The protocols that J&K was following were not in sync with the fresh guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 22 January, he said.
Another traveller, who was returning home from UAE said many of his co-travellers were positive. “They should be allowed to stay at home only if they have the requisite facilities available there instead of taking them to DRDO hospital,” he said. “They are anyway tested again after 8 days,” he said.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr Syed Haneef Balkhi, who is supervising Srinagar Airport arrivals and testing said the mandatory isolation of positive travellers at DRDO Hospital was as per the directions of the health department.
A senior health official told the media that the new protocols will be in place from Wednesday at the Airport. “Travellers, both local and overseas, who test positive but are asymptomatic need not be under institutional isolation but instead will now be allowed to be under home isolation,” he said.
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