1. There are early indications that Covid-19 infections have begun to plateau in some parts of the country but the trend needs to observed, the Union government said on Thursday, PTI reported. According to the government, 400 districts across India recorded a weekly positivity rate of more than 10%. At a press conference, health ministry’s Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal also said a clear trend of fewer patients requiring oxygen support or intensive care unit beds has been observed.
  2. Kerala reported 51,739 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours with a test positivity rate of 44.6%, Onmanorama reported. On Wednesday, the state had logged 49,771 infections. Meanwhile, Karnataka, another state which has been reporting high caseloads on a daily basis, recorded 38,083 infections with a positivity rate of 20.44%. The number of cases on Thursday showed a sharp decline from the 48,905 infections reported on Wednesday. The positivity rate was 22.51% on Wednesday.
  3. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Thursday lifted the weekend curfew as coronavirus cases continued to drop in the national Capital It also removed the odd-even rule, under which shops would remain open on alternate days based on their registration numbers. Restaurants, bars and theatres have been allowed to reopen with 50% seating capacity. Government offices can also operate with half of their staff members.
  4. Delhi reported 4,291 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, while 34 patients died due to the disease in the last 24 hours, according to government data. The positivity rate came at 9.56% The national capital had recorded 7,498 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday and 6,028 on Tuesday. Wednesday’s positivity rate stood at 10.59%.
  5. India’s drug regulator has granted regular market approval to coronavirus vaccines Covishield and Covaxin for use in the adult population subject to certain conditions, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said. “The conditions include supply for programmatic settings including registration on the CoWin platform and to continue to submit safety data on a six-monthly basis,” the minister wrote in a tweet. The lifting of the emergency use authorisation label effectively makes availability of vaccines easier and provide an opportunity for its entry into the distribution channel.
  6. India on Thursday registered 2,86,384 new Covid-19 cases, which took the overall tally in the country to 4,03,71,500 since the pandemic began in January 2020. The number of new cases on Wednesday was marginally higher than Wednesday’s count of 2,85,914 infections. The daily positivity rate increased to 19.59% from 16.16% on Wednesday. A total of 573 people died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the overall number of deaths to 4,91,127. The country currently has 22,02,472 active cases, and the number declined by 20,546 in the past day. At present, active cases constitute 5.46% of the country’s total caseload.
  7. After recording a huge increase in Covid-19 cases in the past few weeks, the Haryana government on Thursday extended pandemic-related restrictions till February 10, PTI reported. Malls and markets have been granted an extra hour and will be allowed to remain open till 7pm. Shops selling essentials have been allowed to stay open throughout. The restrictions were set to end on January 28, but have now been extended till 5am on February 1.
  8. Schools will remain closed for physical classes across Uttar Pradesh till February 15, the Hindustan Times reported, citing a state government order. Online classes will continue as secondary board examinations will be held soon, the report quoted state Additional Chief Secretary Avnish Kumar Awasthi as saying. This is the second time the closure of schools is being extended. On January 16, schools were shut till January 23. The closure was later extended till January 30. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government on Thursday announced that schools will reopen for Classes 1 to 12 from February 1, The Hindu reported.
  9. England on Thursday lifted the coronavirus restrictions that were imposed in the country in December to tackle an increase in cases of the Omicron variant, reported The Associated Press. Now, face masks are no longer required by law in public places in the country, and the mandatory Covid-19 passes to enter venues such as nightclubs and football grounds have been removed. The decision came after the British government said its Covid-19 vaccine booster rollout has successfully reduced serious illness and hospitalisations.
  10. Denmark is counting on its high vaccination rate as it plans to remove all Covid-19 restrictions from February 2 even as the country continues to clock a record number of infections, AFP reported. “We are saying farewell to the restrictions,” AFP quoted Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen as saying on Wednesday. “...And welcome to life as we knew it before corona,” Frederiksen said. Denmark will become the first European nation to remove domestic restrictions with the Omicron sweeping the continent, AFP said, citing a survey of its bureaus. The restrictions to go include those such as vaccine passes, mask-wearing and early closings for bars and restaurants.