India on Monday morning reported the highest single-day rise of Omicron infections with 156 new cases, according to health ministry data. With this, the tally rose to 578 since cases of the new variant were first reported in the country on December 2.

The highest number of Omicron infections have been reported from Delhi (142), followed by Maharashtra (141), Kerala (57), Gujarat (49), and Rajasthan (43). No state in the North East has recorded cases of the new strain.

The health ministry said 151 out of the 578 people who caught the infection have recovered or “migrated”.

Overall, India reported 6,531 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, taking the country’s tally since the pandemic began last year to 3,47,93,333. The toll jumped to 4,79,997 with 315 fatalities. The daily infections have been below 15,000 for the last 60 days now, according to PTI.

Many states have reintroduced curfews and other restrictions amid the spread of Omicron variant.

The number of active cases in Delhi crossed the 1,000-mark on Sunday. From 11 pm on Monday, a night curfew will come into effect in the national Capital.

Government officials, judges, medical personnel, pregnant women and patients, people on their way to buy essential items, media persons, and those going to or returning from railway stations, bus stops and airports will be exempted from the curfew, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority said, PTI reported.

The city’s positivity rate rose to 0.55% after 52,947 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. The positivity rate needs to stay above 0.5% for two consecutive days for a yellow alert to be sounded that brings in the first level of the Graded Response Action Plan.

As the country grapples with the prospect of another Covid wave, fuelled by the Omicron variant this time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that India’s vaccination programme will be opened to children over the age of 15 from January 3. He also said that a “precautionary dose” would be administered to healthcare workers and those over 60 years old with co-morbidities, from January 10.

Last week, the Allahabad High Court had requested the Election Commission to postpone the upcoming Assembly elections because of the Omicron variant. The court’s Justice Shekhar Yadav also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately ban rallies and public meetings of political parties.

While praising the prime minister for India’s vaccination drive, the judge urged him to take tougher measures to stop cases from rising.

All political parties have started their campaign for the Assembly elections. Lack of Covid appropriate behaviour during these events has triggered criticism.