Indians Flood Markets and Tourist Sites Amid Omicron Concerns | Coronavirus pandemic News
Authorities are calling for restraint and caution in the face of increasing cases of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Indians are swarming markets and resuming crowded flights to vacation destinations despite calls from authorities urging restraint and caution in the face of increasing cases of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
In the coastal state of Goa, extremely popular as a tourist destination for its beaches and offshore casinos, hotels are operating at nearly 90% occupancy, with some 90 flights landing in the western state daily. , reducing air traffic volumes to pre-pandemic levels. .
âFor a year, people haven’t celebrated anything. This year we have vacationers as well as people celebrating their milestone birthdays and weddings. In terms of occupancy, we are back to pre-COVID levels, âNilesh Shah, who heads a leading travel agency in the state, told Reuters news agency.
Shah estimated more than a million tourists entered Goa in December alone, as COVID-related restrictions eased in most countries in India and coronavirus cases bottomed out in a year and a half.
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has warned states not to let their guard down, as cases of the Omicron variant have jumped to 358, although no related deaths have been reported so far.
“There are festivals, there is the New Year and we see that there could be problems because of that,” Vinod Kumar Paul, a senior government official who is advising Modi on the pandemic, said on Friday during of a press conference.
On Friday, the eastern state of Odisha announced new restrictions, banning all social gatherings until January 2 and limiting the number of people allowed to enter a church for Christmas. This follows similar restrictions announced by the territory of the Indian capital of New Delhi this week.
An Indian court on Thursday urged Modi’s government to suspend political rallies in states facing elections due to the rise in Omicron infections.
Elections for the Uttar Pradesh state assembly, home to more than 220 million people, are slated for early 2022, but final dates have yet to be announced. Three other states are also expected to hold local elections at the same time.
Case of Omicron in vaccinated people
India’s Department of Health and Family Welfare said an analysis of 183 Omicron variant infections showed 87 involved people who were fully vaccinated and three involved people who received booster doses.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told reporters on Friday that Asian countries are seeing COVID-19 cases declining overall, unlike North America and Europe.
Despite being home to some of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, India has relied heavily on two vaccines: the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute and the nationally developed vaccine by Bharat Biotech.
In total, India has so far recorded 34.8 million cases of COVID-19 and nearly 480,000 deaths during the pandemic.
The country was overwhelmed by two massive epidemics in September 2020 and April-May of this year. It recorded more than 400,000 new cases in 24 hours at the height of its second wave in May. Over the past two weeks, the country has recorded an average of around 7,000 new cases per day.
Modi’s government rushed to immunize all 944 million adults in the country and administered at least one dose to 88 percent and two doses to 61 percent of them.