India reports 200 Omicron cases amid declining infections

New Delhi, Dec 21 (EFE).- India reported 200 cases of the Omicron variant Tuesday, an increase that alarmed authorities and led to increased safety measures despite a continuing decline in the country’s total infections.

Both the western state of Maharashtra and the capital city of New Delhi already have 54 cases linked to Omicron, a variant of the coronavirus detected in 12 states across the country of 1.35 billion people, according to the health ministry’s data.

Seeing the rapid increase in cases in several European countries, Indian authorities highlighted the importance of staying alert and following the biosafety protocols.

Overall, coronavirus infections continue to decline in the country, which registered 5,326 cases Tuesday, the lowest since May 19, 2020.

India has recorded 34.7 million cases since the start of the pandemic with 478,007 deaths, including the 453 fatalities registered in the last 24 hours.

This makes India the second worst affected country in absolute terms, only behind the United States, which has 51.1 million cases.

India became the global epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 400,000 cases and over 4,000 deaths daily, in May, when a second wave of the virus led to a collapse of the healthcare system as well as a shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds in parts of the country.

Although infections throughout the country have shown a marked downward trend for weeks, cases are on the rise again in some regions such as New Delhi, one of the worst affected during the second wave.

Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, urged for calmness Monday, adding however that Covid-19 cases had been increasing in the city in recent days.

“No need to panic in view of Omicron threat. We have adequate arrangements at hospitals if there is any spread of new Covid-19 variant. There is no oxygen threat this time,” Kejriwal said in a video message.

The Indian capital registered 91 infections on Tuesday, the highest in six months but a far cry from the over 20,000 daily cases that were detected at the height of the second wave.

Indian health authorities have administered more than 1.383 billion vaccine doses since the start of the country’s vaccination campaign, according to the latest data from the health ministry. EFE


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