Sharp surge in COVID-19 infections globally, positivity rate over 5 % in 8 states: Health Ministry

Sharp surge in COVID-19 infections globally, positivity rate over 5 % in 8 states: Health Ministry

New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday warned that cases of COVID-19 infections were increasing sharply across the world and nearly 300 districts in India were reporting a positivity rate higher than 5 per cent on a weekly basis.

Addressing a press conference, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, said, “A high Covid surge noticed globally – in 159 countries; Eight countries in Europe reporting an increase of cases by more than 2 times in the last two weeks.”

“Covid cases have been rising globally with January 10 recording the highest ever single-day rise of 31.59 lakh cases worldwide,” he said.

Expressing his concerns about rising Covid cases in India, Agarwal said, “There has been a sharp surge in COVID cases in India; there are 9,55,319 active cases as of Jan 12.” Noting a high surge in Covid-19 infections in India, the positivity rate has risen from 1.1 per cent on Dec 30 to 11.05 per cent on January 12, the Union Health Secretary said.

“Currently, 300 districts in India are reporting weekly case positivity of more than 5 per cent,’’ he added. Lav Agarwal further warned that Maharashtra, West Bengal,  Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, and Gujarat are now emerging states of concern (reporting surge in Covid cases).

Informing the press conference. the health secretary said that 19 states have over 10,000 active Covid cases at present. Stressing on the importance of getting inoculated, he quoted the World Health Organisation to say that vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization appears to be substantially higher than against symptomatic COVID-19 disease.

The warning from the Union Health Ministry came on a day when the country reported 407 fresh Omicron infections in the past 24 hours. With this, the national tally of this highly transmissible Covid variant has mounted to 4868, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Affairs said on Wednesday morning.

Of the total, 1805 people have recovered from the new strain nationwide so far, it added. The Omicron infection has spread to 28 States and UTs, as per the ministry.

However, Maharashtra with 1,281 cases, continues to be the worst hit with 499 patients having been discharged. At 645 cases, Rajasthan remains the second most affected followed by Delhi with 546 Omicron cases.

The national capital is followed by Karnataka with 479 cases, while Kerala has logged 350 cases so far. West Bengal has reported the highest single-day rise of 267 Omicron cases, pushing the state’s tally to 294.

Among other states, Uttar Pradesh continues with 275 cases of this variant so far, while Gujarat and Tamil Nadu has 236 and 185 cases respectively. The Omicron cases has jumped to 162 in Haryana, while Telangana is static at 123.

Meanwhile, the number of Omicron infections has risen to 102 and 54 in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh respectively. Bihar and Punjab continue with 27 cases each and Goa with 21 cases. Jammu Kashmir has recorded 13 cases while Madhya Pradesh continues with 10 cases of Omicron.

However, the Omicron case count continues in single digits for Assam at 9 and Uttarakhand at 8 cases. Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh has so far 5 Omicron cases. Chandigarh and Andaman Nicobar Islands continue with 3 cases each and Puducherry with 2 cases so far. Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh and Laddakh, Manipur have logged one case each so far.

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