Four key States — Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal — showed a plateauing of daily cases on Saturday. This, even as the Election Commission of India (ECI) extended a ban on physical rallies by political parties till January 22.
The ECI conducted a comprehensive review of present status and projected trends of Covid pandemic with special focus on the poll bound states and restricted physical road-shows, rallies by political parties till January 22.
“Commission shall subsequently review the situation and issue further instructions accordingly,” it added.
The five poll-bound States are Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab and Goa.
Meanwhile, a large number of devotees and sadhus turned up at Prayagraj to take a holy dip in the Ganga during the 47-day Magh Mela which started on Friday. Reports showed most visitors flouting Covid-19 norms of masks and social distancing.
Omicron cases rise
India added new 2.68 lakh cases, 402 deaths and 1.22 lakh recoveries in the 24 hours ended Saturday morning. Health Ministry data showed the Omicron tally rising to 6,041 with an increase of 288 from the previous day.
Mumbai added 10,661 new cases and 11 deaths on Saturday, with test positivity rate at 19.5 per cent — lower than the recent peak of 13,702 cases and TPR of 21.7 per cent recorded on Thursday.
After doctors expressed apprehensions over reporting of home-tested positive cases, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on Saturday made Aadhar card mandatory for those buying self-test kit so as to monitor those who are home-testing.
Delhi, Gujarat and West Bengal also showed a dip in new cases. On Saturday, Delhi recorded 20,718 new cases and 30 deaths with TPR at 30.64 per cent, down for the second straight day from the peak of 28,867 cases and 31 deaths on Thursday. Gujarat fell to 9,177 fresh cases with 7 deaths.
West Bengal registered a decline to 19,064 against 22,645 on Friday. Deaths, however, increased to 39 (from 28). TPR stood at 29.52 per cent. The West Bengal government on Saturday announced additional restrictions besides extending current restrictions for another fortnight till January 31. Under the new restrictions, marriage-related gatherings are capped at 200 people or 50 per cent of the capacity.
Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, reported 23,989 new cases on Saturday with 11 deaths. Chennai reported 8,978 cases and six deaths.
After a sustained rise in the cases in Kerala — 17,755 fresh cases and 106 deaths — the State government suspended off-line classes up to class 9 and the High Court said it will revert to complete virtual hearings for all cases starting Monday.
With inputs from Shobha Roy in Kolkata