India records 10,158 new COVID-19 cases, omicron variant fueling spike

India reported 10,158 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday as coronavirus cases steadily increase in the south-Asian country.

Health ministry data showed daily infections climb past the 10,000 mark, reaching a nearly eight-month high, up from 7,830 cases the previous day.

There are currently 44,998 active cases from 229,958 COVID-19 tests.

The uptick is thought to be caused by the omicron variant called XBB 1.16, which is said to mostly affect vulnerable groups.

As a precaution, the Serum Institute of India has restarted manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported, citing the company’s CEO Adar Poonawalla.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 4.42 percent while the weekly positivity rate was 4.02 percent. The active cases now constitute 0.10 percent of the total infections.

Indian health ministry officials were quoted as saying that the spread will subside after 10 to 12 days.

Late last month, the World Health Organization tailored its COVID-19 vaccination recommendations for a new phase of the pandemic, suggesting that healthy children and adolescents may not necessarily need a shot, but older, high-risk groups should get a booster between 6 to 12 months after their last vaccine.

The UN agency said the aim was to focus efforts on vaccinating those facing the greatest threat of severe disease and death from COVID-19, considering the high-level population immunity worldwide due to widespread infection and vaccination.

The health agency defined high-risk populations as older adults, as well as younger people with other significant risk factors. For this group, the agency recommends an additional shot of the vaccine either 6 or 12 months after the latest dose, based on factors such as age and immunocompromising conditions.

India, with a population of over 1.4 billion, has administered 2.20 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses as of Thursday.

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