India records lowest Covid caseload in 18 months amid Omicron concerns

New Delhi, Nov 30 (EFE).- India on Tuesday registered less than 7,000 coronavirus infections, the lowest daily caseload since May 2020, amid calls to ban international flights from countries where the Omicron variant of the virus has been detected.

According tot he Indian health ministry, the country recorded 6,990 cases of Covid-19 within the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to around 34.5 million.

The number of deaths during the period stood at 190, taking the total death toll to 468,980.

India continues to be the second worst affected country by the pandemic worldwide after the United States, which has registered over 48.4 million infections according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

India’s latest Covid figures are in sharp contrast to those witnessed during the second wave of the infection, which peaked in May 2021 with over 400,000 cases and more than 4,500 deaths being recorded every day.

According to experts, the real number of cases and casualties could be much higher, even as the country witnessed a collapse of its health system, with medical oxygen falling short in some cities, while crematoriums were overrun with the dead.

The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, first identified in South Africa, has triggered concern among Indian authorities over the possibility of a fresh surge.

The head of the Indian capital’s regional government on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shut down air traffic with the countries where the new variant has been detected.

“Several countries have banned flights from the countries affected by the Omicron variant. Why are we delaying (the decision in this regard)?” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.

“We delayed banning foreign flights even at the start of the first wave. Most of the foreign flights land in Delhi, it becomes the most affected (city). Mr. prime minister, please ban (foreign) flights immediately,” he added.

The chief minister of the state of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray, on Monday also asked for the suspension of flights from 12 countries during a meeting of the local cabinet, local broadcaster reported.

On Saturday Modi had ordered a review of the decision to reduce restrictions on international flights due to fears linked to the new variant, and Indian authorities have imposed harder restrictions on travelers arriving from countries deemed “high risk,” including South Africa and the European Union. EFE


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