Here are the latest updates on the new coronavirus variant:

  1. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said that restrictions could be imposed in Mumbai if the city’s positivity rate crosses 5%. “[It is] worrying to see the number of active cases increasing in the state [Maharashtra],” Tope said, according to ANI. “Mumbai’s positivity rate is at 4%...We are planning to administer vaccines to 15 to 18 year old children in schools.” Mumbai on Wednesday recorded 2,510 new Covid-19 cases, a 82.2% jump from the previous day’s figures. The city also reported one death.
  2. Karnataka recorded 566 new coronavirus cases and six deaths on Wednesday, pushing the state’s infection count to 30,05,798, reported PTI. The state’s toll reached 38,324. Out of six fatalities, four were residents of Bengaluru Urban and the other two patients were from Chitradurga and Tumakuru districts. Bengaluru Urban alone reported 400 new infections on Wednesday.
  3. The third wave of Covid-19 has begun in Bihar and the state government is taking measures necessary to protect people from the disease, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, according to Hindi daily Hindustan. The state government will also close all parks from December 31 to January 2, 2022 in order to prevent crowding at public places for new celebrations. Bihar reported 47 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday. The state has not reported any case of the Omicron variant till now.
  4. The number of patients infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in India rose from 653 to 781, data from the Union health ministry showed. The first cases of the new strain were reported in the country on December 2. Omicron has now spread to 21 states and Union Territories of the country.
  5. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked officials to review the state’s overall Covid-19 situation as cases continue to rise. She instructed authorities to identify containment zones in areas where more infections are being reported, reported PTI. “Covid-19 cases are on the rise...there are a few Omicron cases also,” she told officials at a meeting. “We may consider closing down schools and colleges for some time.”
  6. The Omicron variant continues to pose a “very high risk” to healthcare systems across countries, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. The global health body also warned that the Omicron variant was likely to spread faster than Delta.
  7. Experimental and clinical data showed that the Omicron variant has a very high potential to escape the immune system, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium said on Wednesday. Initial estimates suggest that the severity of the illness may be lower than in previous outbreaks of the coronavirus, the consortium said.
  8. The United States and many countries in Europe, including France, Greece, Italy, have recorded their highest daily surges in Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began in December 2019, reported BBC on Wednesday. Over 4,40,000 new cases were recorded in the United States on Monday, health officials said. The variant has now been detected in 108 countries and has triggered a fresh surge in cases and restrictions in several parts of the world.
  9. England and Wales in the United Kingdom on Tuesday registered close to 1,30,000 new Covid-19 infections, a record 24-hour count as cases of the new variant continue to increase, reported AFP.
  10. Poland reported 794 Covid deathson Wednesday, which is the highest number of fatalities recorded in the country, the deputy health minister said, reported Reuters.