Omicron: Maharashtra government to consider lockdown if oxygen requirement rises
Maharashtra will consider a fresh lockdown if the daily demand for medical oxygen rises, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Saturday. Currently, the situation is under control, said Tope, adding that the state government does not want to cause unnecessary inconvenience. The statement comes amid the emergence of Omicron variant of coronavirus. Maharashtra has 108 Omicron cases—the most for any Indian state.
Why does it matter?
- On Saturday, Maharashtra reported 1,485 COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths.
- State capital Mumbai reported 757 fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, marking a rise for the fifth consecutive day.
- In light of the outbreak, Maharashtra on Friday outlawed gatherings of more than five people in public locations between 9 pm and 6 am.
- The state also limited the number of people allowed at public gatherings.
'Masks, social distancing a must'
COVID-19 rules must be strictly followed, Tope said. "Wearing masks and following social distancing norms is a must," he said. Tope said the rise in Omicron cases in Maharashtra is "certainly a cause of concern." "Till now, we have seen that Omicron patients recover speedily," he said. Everyone must try to put such cases under control, he added.
422 Omicron cases across India
Overall, India has reported 422 Omicron cases, including 130 patients who have recovered, migrated, or been discharged. After Maharashtra, Delhi has reported the most number of Omicron cases (79), followed by Gujarat (43), Telangana (41), Kerala (38), Tamil Nadu (34), and Karnataka (31). Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh, Ladakh, and Uttarakhand have also reported cases.
India further expands vaccination drive
India on Saturday announced booster doses for healthcare and frontline workers, and those aged over 60, from January 10. During the announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that vaccines for children aged 15 to 18 will also begin on January 3.
COVID-19 3rd wave to peak in February: Study
The third wave of COVID-19 in India will peak on February 3, 2022, according to a study by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur. "The report forecasts India's third wave of COVID-19 to start around mid-December 2021," wrote Subhra Sankar Dhar, an associate professor at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The study analyzed data from the first two waves of COVID-19.