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Surge in Covid-19 cases in India as Omicron started replacing Delta variant: Official sourcesWith the Union Health Ministry noting a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, official sources have said that the reason behind the spike is the Omicron variant which has started replacing its predecessor Delta in India and the world. As per the sources, Omicron variant infections account for around 80 per cent of Covid-19 cases detected among international travellers.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has been holding a review meeting daily over the Covid-19 situation since November 25 with all officials and public health experts. “The trend of an increasing number of Covid-19 cases shows that it is due to Omicron, which is replacing Delta in India and globally as well,” official sources told ANI.

However, most of the patients infected with Omicron are asymptomatic and some of them are mildly symptomatic, they added. Since the first two cases of Omicron were reported in India on December 2, the Union Health Ministry has been working in a mission mode and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also monitoring the situation closely.

Passengers arriving in Singapore with travel history to Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe within the past 14 days will come under the country’s Category IV border measures from 11.59 pm on Sunday.

“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s war room is dedicatedly working 24×7, even at night senior officers are monitoring, analyzing and reviewing the situation, the trends and surge in cases,” said sources. The ministry has advised States and Union Territories to enhance testing, strengthen hospital preparedness, increase vaccination pace and strict restrictions to counter the spread of infection.

As per Union Health Ministry’s data, 67.76 crore samples have been tested for Covid-19 in India till December 30, 2021. There are 3,117 COVID-19 testing laboratories including 2,014 RTPCR, 941 antibody test, 132 CBNAAT and 30 others, across the country. The country has 204 firms making RT-PCR test kits, 53 making rapid antigen kits, seven manufacturing home rapid antigen testing kits and four are in pipeline. India’s daily testing capacity is more than 20 lakhs.

Meanwhile, over 145 vaccine doses have been administered to the eligible population in India so far. India has covered 90 per cent single dose in adults and 65 per cent of the eligible population are fully vaccinated with both doses. The vaccination drive in India commenced on January 16, 2021.

Effective January 3, the state government has decided to temporarily suspend all direct flights from the United Kingdom to Kolkata until further orders.

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