Here are the latest updates on the new coronavirus variant:

  1. India is in the middle of the third wave of Covid-19 and the country may report case numbers like never before, NK Arora, the head of the country’s vaccine panel told News18. The official, however, said that imposing a lockdown would not be the correct decision. “Instead, containment zones can be made and some restrictions must be brought in,” he said.
  2. The Punjab government on Tuesday announced a night curfew between 10 pm and 5 am till January 15, PTI reported. It also said that schools and colleges will be shut. Bars, cinemas halls, multiplexes, malls, restaurants, spas, museums and zoos can operate at 50% capacity if all staff members are fully vaccinated. Though, no restrictions have been announced for political meetings or rallies. Meanwhile, 100 students of Patiala Medical College tested positive for the virus, India Today reported. The students have been asked to vacate their rooms immediately.
  3. The West Bengal government on Tuesday wrote to the Union civil aviation ministry and informed it about its decision to allow domestic flights from Delhi and Mumbai only thrice a week, ANI reported. From Wednesday, these flights will be allowed only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The state government took this decision due to the rising Covid-19 cases.
  4. Low hospitalisation and death rates in South Africa due to Omicron cannot be seen as a template for other countries, a senior World Health Organization official said on Tuesday, according to AP. Abdi Mahamud, Covid-19 incident manager at the organisation, said that there has been a decoupling between Covid-19 case numbers and deaths in South Africa.
  5. Physical classes in Pune district will be shut till January 30 for Classes 1 to 8, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said, according to ANI. The order applies to schools in the municipal limits of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as well. Pune district reported 1,104 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, and the positivity rate in the district is currently at 18%, Pawar said.
  6. Meghalaya reported at least five cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on Tuesday, state Health Services Director Aman War said, according to PTI. The official said that one case each was reported in the Happy Valley, Langkyrding and Laitumkhrah areas of Shillong. He said that the two other cases were reported from the Saiden village of the Ri-Bhoi district.
  7. Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said special measures were needed for Bengaluru amid a rise in coronavirus cases in the city, reported PTI. On Monday, Karnataka recorded 1,290 cases of which 1,041 were from Bengaluru city.
  8. The Bihar government on Tuesday imposed fresh restrictions to curb coronavirus cases, ANI reported. Under the new curbs, schools and colleges will function at only 50% capacity for students of classes 9 to 12. Pre-schools and classes 1 to 8 will remain shut. The restrictions will be in place from January 6 to 21.
  9. The Centre will likely announce which vaccine has to be administered as the “precautionary dose” to the healthcare workers and citizens above 60 years of age with comorbidities, said Dr NK Arora, chief of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, India Today reported. “90% of us have got Covishield and 10% of adults have got Covaxin,” he said. “There are pros and cons to taking the same dose.”
  10. The United States on Monday reported over 10 lakh cases, The New York Times reported. However, the hospitalisations were growing at a slow rate, government data showed. While breakthrough infections were common with Omicron, vaccinated people have better protection against severe illness and death, according to data.