A look at the top Covid-19 developments of the day:

  1. The Union health ministry on Wednesday said that the Omicron variant of coronavirus was not akin to common cold and it should not be taken lightly, reported PTI. At a press briefing, the ministry also said that the booster shots of the vaccines have the same composition as those used in the jabs in the initial two-dose regimen. The ministry also said that 300 districts in the country were reporting weekly positivity rate of over 5% and that Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Gujarat were emerging as states of concern due to rise in coronavirus cases.
  2. Amid rising cases of coronavirus, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Wednesday told the state governments to ensure that medical oxygen is present in sufficient quantities at health facilities, ANI reported. “All health facilities providing in-patient care and oxygen therapy should have buffer stock of medical oxygen sufficient for at least 48 hours,” he said.  
  3. Omicron is becoming the dominant coronavirus variant around the world, and will soon surpass the number infections caused by the Delta strain, the World Health Organization said according to PTI. The global health body said that the growth rate of the Omicron variant will depend on the level of circulation of the Delta strain in any given country.
  4. The poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur have a “high vulnerability to emerging Covid pandemic due to Omicron variant”, one of the empowered groups formed by the Centre on Covid-19 has said in its analysis, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The report titled “vulnerability of districts for Covid-19”, also said that the people in these states were at risk of severe symptoms of coronavirus. The findings have been shared with the Union health ministry.
  5. The Delhi Police on Wednesday said that 1,700 of its officers had tested positive for the virus between January 1 and January 12, ANI reported.
  6. Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Tuesday said that the highest transmission of coronavirus in the state was seen between people of 20 to 40 years of age, The Hindu reported. She added that samples from districts, where cases have increased, were being sent for genomic sequencing.
  7. Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on Wednesday asked citizens to get vaccinated even if the number of coronavirus cases in the city were decreasing, PTI reported. She said that 94% of the people who have died because of the disease since February last year were unvaccinated.
  8. India on Wednesday added 1,33,837 active cases to its tally, the highest daily rise in 211 days. Currently, there are 9,55,319 active cases in the country, according to data by the health ministry. As many as 1,94,720 new cases were reported over the last 24 hours, 15.86% more than Tuesday’s count.
  9. Booster doses of coronavirus vaccines if taken repeatedly over certain months could adversely affect the immune system, according to the European Union’s health regulator, AFP reported. The European Medicines Agency has suggested a larger gap between two booster doses.
  10. More than half of Europe’s population could be infected with Omicron variant of coronavirus, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, according to AFP. The health body’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said a “new west-to-east tidal wave” was sweeping across the region.