India reaches 7-month high of 194,720 Covid-19 cases

New Delhi, Jan 12 (EFE).- India recorded 194,720 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the highest number of cases in seven-and-a-half months amid a third wave of the pandemic that has led to a tightening of restrictions across the country.

The nearly 200,000 cases detected in the last 24 hours – 15.8 percent more than Tuesday – raised the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to over 36 million, according to the latest data from the Indian health ministry.

The authorities also reported an increase in the number of deaths – 442 in the last 24 hours – taking the total coronavirus deaths to 484,655.

The number of infections has increased sharply in India in the last two weeks driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant in sharp contrast to the 10,000 daily cases that were being reported before that.

Many states have responded to the surging cases by imposing restrictions.

The New Delhi authorities on Tuesday ordered the closure of restaurants and offices in addition to the weekend and night curfews already in place.

Although, the authorities have so far reported 4,868 cases of the Omicron variant, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFCR) warned on Wednesday that this highly contagious variant “threatens to overwhelm health systems still reeling from a deadly wave of the Delta variant last year.”

The IFCR noted that all of South Asia was at risk.

“The Omicron variant appears to have milder symptoms than the Delta variant, but it is more infectious, so high case numbers are still leading to thousands of people being hospitalized and hundreds are dying,” Abhishek Rimal, IFRC’s Asia Pacific Emergency Health Coordinator, said.

India became the global epicenter of the pandemic in May last year during a devastating second wave with a peak of more than 400,000 infections and over 4,500 deaths daily that caused a shortage of oxygen across the country, and overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.

India has administered 1.538 billion doses of the Covid vaccine since the country’s vaccination drive began a year ago while 640 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the official Cowin website. EFE


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