India reports 168,063 new COVID-19 infections

India reported 168,063 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, less than the figure of 179,723 the previous day, the health ministry said.

>>Reuters
Published : 11 Jan 2022, 05:35 AM
Updated : 11 Jan 2022, 05:35 AM

Deaths rose by 277 to 484,213, while the tally of infections reached 35.88 million.

India began administering COVID-19 vaccine boosters to front-line workers and vulnerable elderly people on Monday, with the omicron variant fuelling an almost eight-fold rise in daily infections over the past 10 days.

The health ministry said only 5% to 10% of the infected have sought hospitalisation, compared with 20% to 23% during the delta-driven last wave that peaked in May. Authorities in the cities of Delhi and Mumbai say most people have shown no or only minor symptoms and have recovered quickly at home.

"The situation is dynamic and evolving, therefore, the need for hospitalisation may also change rapidly," Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote in a letter to state authorities asking them to regularly review staffing levels.

India reported 179,723 new cases on Monday, many of them in its biggest cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, where the fast-spreading omicron variant has overtaken delta as the most prevalent strain of the virus.

There were 146 deaths reported on Monday, bringing the toll to 483,936 since the pandemic began in early 2020. Only the United States and Brazil have recorded more deaths.

Indian states, however, have reserved more than double the COVID-19 hospital beds for children than recommended by federal experts out of fear of being under-prepared, government data shows, although doctors say not many youngsters have needed critical care yet.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
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