India recorded 2,82,970 new Covid-19 cases and 441 related deaths in the last 24 hours ending 8 am Wednesday, data updated by the Union Ministry of Health showed. The daily count is a slight increase from Tuesday’s 2,38,018 cases.
The active caseload, too, has increased to 18,31,000, up from yesterday’s 17.3 lakh. The daily positivity rate climbed to 15.13 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Omicron tally has reached 8,961 — an increase of 0.79 per cent since yesterday, the Ministry said.
Here’s a rundown of the latest updates on Covid-19:
With vaccine equity, Covid-19 health emergency could be over by year-end: WHO
The head of emergencies at the World Health Organisation said Tuesday, the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic — deaths, hospitalisations and lockdowns — could be over this year if huge inequities in vaccinations and medicines are addressed quickly. “What we need to do is get to low levels of disease incidence with maximum vaccination of our populations, so nobody has to die,” Dr Michael Ryan said. “We may never end the virus because such pandemic viruses end up becoming part of the ecosystem. But we have a chance to end the public health emergency this year if we do the things that we’ve been talking about,” he said.
Daily cases drop in major cities
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said on Tuesday that Mumbai had moved past the peak and the daily Covid-19 case count was expected to fall further over the coming days. Over the last week, the city’s daily case count has seen a steady fall. It dipped to 10,661 on Saturday; 7,895 on Sunday; and 5,956 on Monday. On Tuesday, 6,149 new cases were reported.
Similarly, Delhi, which had recorded a new all-time peak just six days ago with 28,867 cases, has seen a steady and fast decline after that. The capital reported 11,684 cases on Tuesday. In Kolkata, the case count rose to more than double its second wave peak — 8,712 cases on January 9 compared to 3,990 on May 23 last year. But it dropped quickly after that, and on Tuesday, the city reported only 2,205 cases. Chennai is also showing distinct signs of a slowdown, though the cases have not begun to decline.
Pune, Bengaluru see a rise
Cities like Bengaluru and Pune are seeing a rapid rise in numbers. Bengaluru reported 25,595 cases on Tuesday, the highest so far in the third wave, and only marginally below its all-time peak of 26,756 recorded on April 30 last year. Similarly, Pune also reported the highest number of cases in this wave on Tuesday — its 11,784 cases on Tuesday is below the second wave peak of 12,825 cases.
Enhance testing, govt tells states/UTs
The Union Health Ministry Tuesday told health departments in the country to increase testing, highlighting a decline in several states and Union Territories over the last few days.
Additional Health Secretary Arti Ahuja, without naming any state or Union Territory, reiterated to health secretaries the fresh ICMR guidelines issued after the emergence of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant. The new ICMR guidelines had stated that all those who are symptomatic and at-risk contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases must be tested — while there was no need to do so for asymptomatic people.