World is witnessing
fourth surge of COVID,
India on guard: Spokesman


NEW DELHI: The world is witnessing the fourth surge of the COVID-19 pandemic and India has to be on guard and cannot afford to slacken, said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Friday.
While addressing a weekly press briefing, the Union Health Secretary issued a fresh warning against the COVID-19 pandemic in the wake of the rise in Omicron cases and said, “The world is witnessing the fourth surge and the overall positivity is 6.1 per cent. Therefore, we have to be on guard and can’t afford to slacken.” He said that as compared to Europe, North America and Africa are seeing an increase in COVID19 cases week-on-week. Asia is witnessing a decline in the number of fresh cases, but we have to be on guard.
“The top five states with the highest number of active cases, at the moment, are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Karnataka,” said Rajesh Bhushan.

NEW DELHI: Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, ministry of health said at a briefing that the recovery rate of Covid-19 patients in India has been rising consistently. (ANI)

Further speaking on the rise in Omicron cases, he said the country has so far reported 358 Omicron cases in 17 States and UTs while 114 people have recovered from the new variant of coronavirus.
He further said that 89 per cent of the adult population has received the first dose and 61 per cent of the eligible population has received the second dose of COVID19 vaccines.
He further said that the Health Ministry advised the states on December 21 to impose restrictions like night curfew and regulate large gatherings.
“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare preemptively advised States on 21st December to impose restrictions like night curfew, regulating large gatherings, increase bed capacity and other logistics and strict enforcement of COVID appropriate behaviour,” said Union Health Secretary.
Bhushan said that as of now there are 18,10,083 isolation beds, 4,94,314 O2 supported beds, 1,39,300 ICU beds, 24,057 paediatric ICU beds and 64,796 paediatric non-ICU beds are available nationally.
While speaking on the medical oxygen, he said, “There was a 10-fold increase in oxygen demand from the first wave to the second wave. Thus, 18,800 metric tonnes of medical oxygen per day has been arranged for. The cause for concern is 11 states where vaccination coverage is less than the national average.”
“World Health Organization (WHO) on December 7 said that Omicron has a significant growth advantage over Delta which means, it has greater transmissibility. Omicron cases double within 1.5-3 days, so we have to remain vigilant with Covid-appropriate behaviour,” he added.

UP govt to impose night curfew

The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday decided to impose a night curfew from December 25 following COVID-19 concerns in the country.
As per the government’s directives, a night curfew will be put in place from December 25 from 11 pm-5 am. No more than 200 people will be allowed at weddings, as per the order. Chief Minister said that every single passenger coming from outside in the state should be duly traced.
RTPCR testing should be done at airports, railway stations, and bus stations. Appreciating the role of Integrated COVID-19 Command Center (ICCC) and Monitoring Committees in COVID management, the CM said that monitoring committees in villages and urban wards should be reactivated so that tracing, testing and treatment can be done at the earliest. ICCC is to be operated 24×7, as per the order.
CM Adityanath has directed the Health and Medical Education Department to review the treatment facilities in all government and private medical institutions of the state.
The Chief Minister said that the hospitals have been provided with adequate facilities. If there is an additional need, the necessary equipment and resources should be made available immediately.
The Chief Minister has also directed to re-activate the COVID Help Desk and Day Care Center in industrial units. All public events including wedding celebrations, New Year, and Christmas celebrations, will be marked with necessary adherence to COVID-19 protocols. (ANI)