India Records 5,357 New COVID-19 Cases in 24 Hours; Government to Conduct Mock Drills

The Indian Health Ministry reported that the country recorded 5,357 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The test positivity rate stands at 3.39%. However, there is a slight decrease in the number of cases compared to Saturday, which saw 6,155 COVID-19 cases. With today’s cases, total cases increased up to 32,814 and 11 deaths have been reported. 3,726 people have recovered. The government has decided to conduct mock drills on Monday and Tuesday associated with measures to tackle the unexpected outbreak.

The state governments have also been advised to be ready to face any unprecedented situations. Haryana and Puducherry have made it mandatory for citizens to wear masks.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George earlier urged diabetic, blood pressure and lifestyle patients, elders, pregnant women and children to wear masks and undergo COVID-19 tests if they notice any symptoms.

Earlier the World Health Organization (WHO) had raised concerns over a new subvariant of the Omicron strain, known as Omicron XBB.1.16, which is driving an increase in COVID-19 cases in India. The WHO has added XBB.1.16 to the list of six variants currently under monitoring, as per its weekly update on the pandemic.

While global COVID-19 cases and fatalities are declining, some countries including India are experiencing a surge in infections. XBB.1.16 has replaced other circulating sub-variants in India and has a similar profile to XBB.1.5 but has additional changes in the spike protein. According to lab studies, XBB.1.16 has demonstrated increased infectivity and potentially increased pathogenicity.

Although there is no evidence of a change in severity in individuals or populations, the WHO is concerned about the potential for the virus to become more severe and transmissible.