Here are the latest updates on the new coronavirus variant:

  1. The Maharashtra government on Friday announced a night curfew prohibiting the gathering of more than five people in public places between 9 pm and 6 am, ANI reported. Under a set of new guidelines that will come in effect from Friday, restaurants, gyms, spas and cinema halls will be allowed to operate at 50% occupancy. Only 100 persons will allowed in weddings at indoor venues, while 250 persons will be allowed to attend outdoor weddings.
  2. Delhi recorded 180 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, the highest single-day count since June 16, PTI reported. The single-day caseload has more than doubled in a week, as the city had recorded 69 cases on December 17. The total number of cases in the city since the pandemic began last year rose to 14,42,813, while the test positivity rate stood at 0.29%. Test positivity rate is the percentage of people who test positive for the virus out of those who have been tested overall.
  3. Meanwhile, in Mumbai daily cases have more than tripled since Monday. On Friday, the city reported 683 cases, while on Monday 204 infections had been detected in the Maharashtra capital. Those flying to the city from Dubai will have to compulsorily undergo seven-day home quarantine, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said in an order. “There is mixing of travellers at the Dubai International Airport,” the order said amid the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.
  4. A total of 358 cases of Omicron infections have been detected in 17 states and Union Territories of the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference on Friday evening. Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava said that about a third of all the Omicron cases in India were mild or asymptomatic. “The infection with Omicron variant does not necessarily lead to severe symptomatic critical disease,” he added.
  5. The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday said it will impose a night curfew between 11 pm and 5 am from Saturday amid the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, NDTV reported. The state government has also capped the guest limit for any public function to 200. Organisers of the events have been asked to follow all Covid-related protocols. 
  6. Later in the day, Haryana also imposed a night curfew from 11 pm till 5 am, The Indian Express reported. “In view of the possibility of increasing cases of Omicron in the state, for the safety of the people, from January 1, 2022, both doses of vaccination have been made mandatory for entry in all public sector institutions,” Chief Minister ML Khattar said. “Along with this, gathering of more than 200 people in public places, other programmes and movement of people from 11 pm to 5 am will be strictly banned.”
  7. Two persons in Andhra Pradesh tested positive for the Omicron variant, the Hindustan Times reported. One of the patients had returned from Kuwait while the other had arrived from the United Arab Emirates. Currently, the state has a total of four patients infected with the new strain.
  8. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will announce new guidelines to curb the spread of coronavirus, India Today reported. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting with the members of the Covid-19 task force, which discussed ways to avoid crowding during the Christmas and New Year celebrations, weddings and parties at hotels and restaurants. The Odisha government has also banned Christmas and New Year celebrations in hotels, clubs, restaurants, parks and community halls, PTI reported. A maximum of 50 people will be allowed to attend Christmas masses in the state.
  9. The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday issued new guidelines for domestic and international passengers going through Delhi. It has called for thermal screening of all passengers at arrival. Samples of random passengers arriving from states witnessing a spurt in Covid-19 cases will be collected for testing. Passengers will only be allowed to leave the airport after their sample is collected. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced that all adults in the city have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. More than 1.48 crore beneficiaries have received the first dose, he said in a tweet.
  10. The United States has removed the requirement of in-person interviews for work-visa applicants till December 31, 2022, to reduce the waiting time. Interviews will be exempted for individuals in specialty occupations (H-1B visas), trainees or special education visitors (H-3 visas), employees transferred within a company (L visas), individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement (O visas), athletes, artists and entertainers (P visas), and participants in international cultural exchange programs (Q visas).
  11. Australia on Friday reduced the interval between the second shot of coronavirus vaccine and the booster dose to four months from the existing five months. The duration will be further reduced to three months by the end of January. Authorities in France on Friday recommended that the booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine should be administered within three months of the first two doses, AFP reported.