India extends ban on international commercial flights till 28 February; market approval of Covishield and Covaxin recommended.

As coronavirus cases in Delhi crept up to 13,785 in the past 24 hours, with a positivity rate of 23.86%, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that even though the COVID-19 positivity rate in the national capital has declined from 30%, with a decrease from the earlier 28,000-plus in the number of infections as well, the COVID norms in the city will not be relaxed as the positivity rate is still not “low enough”.

Satyendar Jain said, “The positivity rate has come down from 30% to 22.5% (at the time of the press conference) and the total number of cases in Delhi has also decreased. However, the positivity rate is not low enough that we can relax the COVID restrictions.” “Today, a positivity rate of 24% is likely to be reported along with around 13,000 fresh infections. There is not much occupancy in hospitals and beds are also vacant. We are doing more testing in Delhi,” he said.

India, meanwhile, reported 282,970 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours with a daily positivity rate of 15.13%, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Wednesday. The weekly positivity rate is 15.53%. Meanwhile, the country’s recovery rate stands at 93.88%. The country also witnessed 441 new COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours.


Amid rising concerns over the Omicron variant, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday extended the ban on commercial international passenger flights till 28 February. In a circular issued by DGCA, it said that the competent authority has decided to extend the suspension of Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 23.59 hrs IST of 28 February 2022. It further reads this restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA. However, flights under air bubble arrangement will not be affected. All concerned authorities have been asked to acknowledge the receipt and ensure strict compliance. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, international passenger services have been suspended in India since 23 March 2020. Earlier, on 9 December, DGCA had extended the ban till January 31.


As many as 28 Mumbai policemen tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, said police on Wednesday. With this, the tally of positive police personnel rose to 1,273 in the city. A total of 127 personnel have died so far from the infection, said the Mumbai police. Mumbai reported 6,032 new cases of COVID-19 during the last 24 hours, said Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday. Of these patients, 5,067 (84%) are asymptomatic.

Numbers in Kerala, meanwhile, continued to soar, with the state reporting 34,199 new cases on Wednesday, with a positivity rate of 37.17%. The rising cases of COVID-19 in Kerala could be due to the presence of the Omicron variant of the virus, said Dr G.S. Vijayakrishnan, the President of Kerala Government Medical Officers Association on Tuesday.

Vijaykrishnan talked about the worsening situation in the Thiruvananthapuram district, where the test positivity rate is about 48%. “At the earliest, Trivandrum needs to have more restrictions regarding people visiting closed places and travelling. We have to take some preventive measures in offices like keeping rooms open, ventilated and proper use of masks etc,” he added.

In Uttar Pradesh, there was a spike of 17,776 fresh cases in the last 24 hours; while Tamil Nadu reported 26,981 cases; Gujarat 20,966; West Bengal 11,447;


The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recommended the market approval of Covishield and Covaxin on Wednesday. “The SEC of CDSCO has recommended for upgrade of covishield and covaxin status from restricted use in emergency situations to grant of new drug permission with conditions In adult population, DCGI will evaluate the recommendations and give its decision,” CDSCO said in a tweet. Market authorisation for vaccines means that these can be authorised for use without reservation and conditions.

As many as 1,588,847,554 vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive. Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded youngsters in the 15-18 age group for showing enthusiasm in getting vaccinated. While reacting to Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya’s tweet on Tuesday that 50% of children in the age group 15-18 years have been vaccinated, the Prime Minister tweeted: “Young and youthful India showing the way! This is encouraging news. Let us keep the momentum. It is important to vaccinate and observe all COVID-19 related protocols. Together, we will fight this pandemic.” On Tuesday, Mandaviya had tweeted, “Big day for India’s fight against COVID-19! Over 50% of our youngesters between 15-18 age group have received their 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Well done, my Young Friends! Your enthusiasm for vaccination is inspiring people all over India. Sabko Vaccine Muft Vaccine.”

The country began vaccinating children between the age of 15-18 years from 3 January onwards.