Omicron spreads in India’s big cities but hospitalisations still low


KOLKATA (Reuters) – Indian megacities Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 circumstances, though with no corresponding rise in hospitalisations, but fears are rising a couple of unfold to rural areas in coming days.

India reported 90,928 new each day COVID-19 circumstances on Thursday, up practically four-fold because the begin of the 12 months, largely from cities the place well being officers say the Omicron variant has overtaken Delta. The bulk of these contaminated have proven no or solely gentle signs and have recovered rapidly at house, officers mentioned.

The federal well being ministry on Wednesday recognized Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru as among the primary areas of concern, though state officers fear the illness will quickly unfold to the countryside the place well being amenities are weaker.

Kolkata, a metropolis of about 15 million, accounted for half of the brand new circumstances in the jap state of West Bengal till a number of days in the past, but circumstances are actually rising in neighbouring districts. The state has reported one of many highest charges of infections in India.

“We are watching the scenario in the districts and rural belts the place the numbers are additionally rising,” mentioned Ajay Chakraborty, director of the West Bengal well being companies who has remoted himself at house after contracting the virus.

Many COVID beds in Kolkata have been still empty, Chakraborty mentioned. In the government-run Infectious Diseases and Beliaghata General Hospital, solely 75 admissions have been recorded on Tuesday regardless of greater than 9,000 new circumstances, he added.

In the west, Mumbai recorded a brand new each day an infection peak of 15,166 on Wednesday, properly up on its earlier excessive of simply over 11,000 hit final 12 months. Nearly 90% of latest sufferers had proven no signs and solely 8% have been hospitalised, metropolis officers mentioned in a each day well being bulletin.

COVID-19 circumstances practically doubled in a day in Delhi to 10,665 on Wednesday, but the state mentioned solely 7% of its COVID beds have been occupied.

Federal well being officers, nonetheless, have warned even numerous gentle circumstances might put stress on the well being system.

India has confirmed at the very least 2,135 Omicron circumstances and one demise linked to the variant, in an aged man who was affected by diabetes.

Daily COVID-19 deaths rose by 325 on Thursday, taking the overall to 482,876. Total infections are at 35.11 million, solely behind the U.S. tally.

As circumstances rise, the western state of Gujarat on Thursday indefinitely postponed a Jan. 10-12 biennial funding summit that was to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and beforehand attended by the nation’s prime billionaires. Modi’s house state reported 3,350 infections on Wednesday.

Many Indian cities have already imposed evening curfews and weekend lockdowns, in addition to closed colleges. Political rallies, nonetheless, have continued in a number of states the place elections are due in the subsequent few weeks and months.

Health authorities will talk about the matter with election fee officers on Thursday amid rising considerations about such rallies that led to a devastating second wave in the nation in April and May.

(Reporting by Subrata Nagchoudhury in Kolkata, Krishna N. Das in New Delhi, Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru, Sudarshan Varadhan in Chennai and Sumit Khanna in Ahmedabad; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Richard Pulin)

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