NEW DELHI, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — Cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been gradually rising in India though the daily number of coronavirus infections has been on the decline in the country over the past few days.
On Tuesday, 5,784 new cases were registered across India, the lowest daily tally in 571 days.
India’s total tally of the Omicron variant has surpassed 60 as the virus has spread to nearly 80 countries and regions as per the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In Delhi, four new Omicron cases were detected on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases to six in the national capital.
Meanwhile, four new Omicron cases were detected in Rajasthan. Rajasthan Health Minister Parsadi Lal Meena said the health condition of these patients is stable.
Twenty-eight of the Omicron cases have been reported from the southwestern state of Maharashtra, the most COVID-affected Indian state, followed by 17 in Rajasthan and six in Delhi.
Amid the growing Omicron scare in the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has designed a testing kit that will be able to detect the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) in two hours.
In Delhi, the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital has been readied to attend to Omicron patients only. Two weeks ago, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced his government’s preparedness in case the variant spreads in the national capital, which has been one of the worst affected places during both COVID-19 waves.
“The Delhi government has prepared a total of 30,000 oxygen beds, of which 10,000 account for ICU beds. As many as 6,800 beds are under construction additionally and will be ready by February,” said the chief minister.
Kejriwal further said his government will be able to prepare 100 oxygen beds in every municipal ward of national capital at two-weeks’ notice.
“Therefore, 27,000 oxygen beds can be prepared at a short notice in all the 270 wards of the city,” he said.
Delhi, with an estimated population of over 20 million and around 750 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen capacity, will be provided an extra storage capacity of 442 MT of oxygen capacity in order to combat the third wave and the Omicron variant.
The Delhi chief minister also requested the federal government not to allow international flights, and the federal Health Ministry revised its guidelines for international travelers arriving in India with effect from Dec. 1.
As per the new guidelines, travelers will have to submit 14 days travel details on the online portal “Air Suvidha” before the scheduled travel along with the self-declaration form and a negative test result within 72 hours before the journey.
Each person shall also submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise.
Last week, the federal government extended the ban on international flights till Jan. 31.
According to a circular issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the restriction shall not be applicable for international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA.
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