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

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a virtual meeting with chief ministers on Thursday evening to review the coronavirus situation in the country. Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga shared screenshots from the virtual meeting.
  2. NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul on Wednesday expressed concern on the “overuse and misuse” of drugs, reported PTI. Paul said that medicines should be rationally used. “Last time, we saw a very scary situation when the contribution of medicine was to a very large extent responsible for mucormycosis, [or black fungus]” he added.  
  3. Maharashtra is facing a shortage of coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin, which has been prescribed for resident between 15 and 18 years of age by the Centre, reported The Hindu. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said that he will demand 40 lakh doses from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  4. The Leh district in Ladakh announced closing of indoor activities, including residential schools, hostels, coaching centres and gyms, reported ANI. Bars and restaurants have been allowed to operate with 25% seating capacity. Public transport vehicles would function with 50% seating capacity and passengers would not be allowed with masks.  
  5. Bengaluru’s civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, said that apartment complexes will be declared containment zones for at least seven days if there are more than three coronavirus cases, reported ANI. In an advisory to housing societies, the civic body said that all the residents will be tested and detailed contact tracing and surveillance will be conducted. 
  6. Covid-19 hospitalisations in the United States have increased by 33% over the past week and deaths have increased by about 40%, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky said, reported Reuters. She said that the about 90% of the cases in the country were of the Omicron variant but added that the deaths were likely caused because of the Delta strain.
  7. Australia on Thursday recorded over 1,47,000 new coronavirus cases, its highest single-day infection count since the pandemic started in December 2019. The surge driven by the Omicron outbreak has increased the hospitalisation rates and put severe strain on supply chains forcing authorities to ease quarantine rules for more workers.
  8. India reported 2,47,417 coronavirus cases on Thursday morning, taking the overall tally to 3,63,17,927 since the pandemic began in the country in January 2020. The number of new cases was 27.06% more than Wednesday’s count of 1,94,720 cases. Since last week, the infections have grown by 172%. On January 6, India had reported 90,926 cases.
  9. The World Health Organization said that the Omicron variant is dangerous, especially for those who have not been vaccinated against the disease, reported AFP. The organisation added that global surge in cases was being driven by Omicron, which is more transmissible than the Delta variant.
  10. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has tested positive for the coronavirus. In a statement, Kharge said he is asymptomatic and under home isolation. He added that he is fully vaccinated but not yet eligible for the booster dose as it requires a nine-month gap from the data of second vaccination. Kharge was a part of the Congress’s rally in Karnataka on implementation of the Mekedatu project.