A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a mural on a street amid the spread of coronavirus in Mumbai, India. (Reuters)

India has seen a marginal increase in new cases, reporting over 2.86 lakh (2,86,364) in the past 24 hours, ending at 9am on Thursday. With about 3.06 lakh (3,06,357) recoveries, the number of active cases fell to 22 lakh (22,02,472). The daily positivity rate has increased slightly to 19.59%, while the weekly positivity rate is now 17.75%.

Here are the biggest stories of the day: Amid a huge spike in cases, the Haryana government on Wednesday extended Covid-related restrictions in the state until February 10, but allowed shopping malls and the markets to remain open until 7 p.m., extending the relaxation by one hour. Meanwhile, an ICMR study demonstrated that people infected with Omicron have a significant immune response that could neutralize not only Omicron, but also other variants of concern, including the most prevalent Delta variant. This suggests that the Omicron-induced immune response could effectively neutralize the Delta variant, making reinfection with the Delta variant less likely, thereby displacing the Delta as the dominant strain, the study found, highlighting the need for a strategy vaccine specific to Omicron. In other news, with daily Covid cases as well as the positivity rate gradually plunging in the capital, restrictions such as the weekend curfew and the even-odd regime for markets and malls could soon to be lifted, sources said Wednesday.

India reported 2.85 lakh (2,85,914) new Covid-19 cases and 665 deaths in the 24 hours ending at 9am on Wednesday. The country has 22.23 lakh active cases, or 5.55% of its caseload. The daily positivity rate is 16.16%, while the recovery rate is 93.23%. In the last 24 hours, 17.69 lakh tests were carried out. And, India has administered 163.58 crore doses of vaccine so far. While a few cities have seen an uptick in infections, they could also see a big drop. Current Covid-19 figures for major metropolitan cities are: Mumbai (1,858 cases), Delhi (7,498 cases), Bengaluru (22,427 cases), Kolkata (654 cases) and Chennai (5,973 cases)

Delhi: DDMA to take call today on Covid restrictions

With daily Covid cases as well as the positivity rate gradually plunging in the capital, restrictions such as the weekend curfew and the even-odd regime for markets and shopping malls could soon be lifted, it said. sources Wednesday.

The capital recorded 7,498 cases on Wednesday with a positivity rate of 10.59%, significantly lower than the peak of this wave but higher than the figures for Monday and Tuesday. Delhi also recorded 29 deaths on Wednesday, taking the total January toll to 603, the highest since the 740 fatalities reported in June when the surge caused by the delta variant in the city was waning.

“There is a meeting tomorrow. The weekend, odd-even curfew and the opening of all shops in markets and shopping centers should be lifted from next week, but the exact dates will be discussed in a meeting by the CM and the LG. Movie theaters and restaurants may also be allowed to operate at 50% capacity,” the source said.