NEW DELHI: Several states saw a major surge in Covid numbers on Wednesday, as the Centre said that Omicron is the new dominant variant for fresh cases. It also said that majority of Omicron infections are being seen in the bigger cities.
Maharashtra registered the highest jump in cases in seven months.
In a new set of guidelines, the Centre cut the isolation period of Covid patients from 10 days to seven, and suggested new norms for isolation.
Here are the key developments from the day:
Several states, metros see big surge
Maharashtra added the most Covid cases on Wednesday- the rise by 26,538 was the highest one-day surge in 7 months. West Bengal too added over 14,000 cases to its tally.
The southers states too are seeing a surge, altough milder compared to those in the north.
Among the bigger cities, Mumbai logged over 15,000 new cases and Delhi over 10,600.
Several states tighten curbs
Tamil Nadu has announced night curfew from 10pm to 5am, besides lockdown on weekends.
Night curfew will be clamped in all of Uttarakhand from 10pm to 5am.
Himachal Pradesh also announced a similar night curfew. The state has also decided to close indoor sports complexes and cinema halls and allow only 50 per cent attendance at gatherings in wedding and banquet halls.
Odisha has decided to extend the night curfew in towns by an hour and stopped physical classes up to standard twelve. The new restrictions will be effective from 5 am of January 7 till 5 am of February 1.
Isolation period cut to 7 days from 10
All mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, including those infected with Omicron variant of SARS-CoV2, can now isolate at home, the government said in its revised guidelines for home isolation. The period for home isolation has also been reduced to seven days from testing positive for Covid-19 and with no fever for three successive days, compared to 10 days earlier.
There is no need for re-testing after the home isolation period is over. Asymptomatic contacts of infected individuals need not undergo Covid test and monitor health in home quarantine, the guidelines stated.
So far, the confirmed or suspected Omicron infected cases were mandatorily isolated in hospitals or placed in home isolation for 10 days.
However, home isolation is not recommended for immuno-compromised patients such as those with HIV-positive, transplant recipients, cancer patients, etc.
Centre cautions against self-medication, steroid use
The govt on Wednesday advised people to not to rush for self-medication, blood investigation or radiological imaging like chest X-ray or CT scan without consultation of a medical practitioner.
Underlining that steroids are not recommended in mild disease and should not be self-administered, the ministry said overuse and inappropriate use of steroids may lead to additional complications.
Treatment for every patient needs to be monitored individually as per the specific condition of the patient concerned and hence generic sharing of prescriptions should be avoided, the revised guidelines stated.
ICMR flags safety concerns about antiviral pill Molnupiravir
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief Dr Balram Bhargava on Wednesday said there are some “major safety concerns” regarding the antiviral Covid pill Molnupiravir because of which it has not yet been included in the treatment guidelines of the Covid-19 national task force.
He highlighted safety concerns about the pill such as mutagenicity (ability to damage DNA), as well as muscle and bone damage.
He added that women who are administered the drug should use contraceptive methods for three months since a foetus could develop health problems.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had given emergency approval to Molnupiravir last week as the country witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases following the emergence of Omicron.
143 of 1,827 persons on board Goa cruise ship test positive
A day after the Mumbai-Goa Cordelia cruise ship arrived in Mumbai, 143 of the 1,827 passengers on board tested positive for Covid-19. These were apart from the 66 who had already tested positive earlier.
Of the 66, only 60 passengers had returned to Mumbai while six had disembarked in Goa itself.
The Cordelia cruise ship had left for Goa from Mumbai last weekend and during the journey, one crew member of the ship showed flu-like symptoms and his test report came out to be positive. Following that, an RT-PCR test of all the passengers and crew members on-board was carried out, out of which 66 were found positive.