January 5 coronavirus pandemic and Omicron variant news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 2:03 a.m. ET, January 6, 2022
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4:16 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

India sees a sharp rise in Covid cases as another state imposes weekend curfew

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A health worker inoculates a student with a dose of the Covaxin vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus during a vaccination drive for youths of the 15-18 group age at a Government High School in Bangalore on January 4, 2022.
A health worker inoculates a student with a dose of the Covaxin vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus during a vaccination drive for youths of the 15-18 group age at a Government High School in Bangalore on January 4, 2022. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

India on Wednesday reported the highest single-day rise in coronavirus cases since June 20 last year, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Health Ministry. 

The country reported 58,097 new infections — a 55% increase on the previous day, which saw 37,379 cases, the Health Ministry said.

On Tuesday, the southern state of Karnataka became the second to impose a weekend curfew where all activities except essential services will be shut on Saturday and Sunday. Earlier in the day, the national capital territory of Delhi was the first to impose such restrictions. 

“Data shows us that cases are doubling every 2 to 3 days in Karnataka!” K. Sudhakar, Karnataka’s health minister tweeted. Earlier, Delhi’s health minister told reporters the Omicron variant constituted the majority of new cases in the capital.

Political rallies: At least 15 of India’s 28 states and eight union territories have some restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. However, politicians have continued to hold large gatherings with thousands in attendance ahead of elections in five states in early 2022.

No national restrictions on political gatherings have been put in place so far.

On Monday, India began vaccinating children ages 15 to 18. As of Tuesday evening, a total of 8,145,038 vaccine doses had been administered to children, according to the Health Ministry. 

India has so far reported 35,018,358 Covid-19 cases and 482,551 deaths.

4:10 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

Rio de Janeiro cancels Carnival street parades due to Covid-19 surge

From CNN's Karol Suarez

Revellers take part in the street carnival parade of the bloco Calcinhas Belicas at the XV Square in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 5, 2019, during the unofficial opening of the 2020 Carnival.
Revellers take part in the street carnival parade of the bloco Calcinhas Belicas at the XV Square in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 5, 2019, during the unofficial opening of the 2020 Carnival. (Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro has canceled its world-famous Carnival street parades due to a surge in Covid-19 cases, the city's mayor Eduardo Paes said Tuesday during a YouTube live stream. 

"We had a meeting today with the people from the "blocos" (organized street parties), and we informed them that the street carnival, which didn't take place in 2021, cannot happen this year due to the epidemiological data that we have," Paes said.

"It would be very difficult to organize a street carnival."

The Sapucaí carnival — the parade performed by Rio's samba schools and which people watch from the stands of the Marques de Sapucaí Sambadrome stadium — would still take place in accordance with health protocols, he added. 

On Tuesday, Brazil’s Health Ministry reported 18,759 new Covid cases and 175 deaths.

3:58 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

China's Xi'an will ease lockdown if city reaches "zero community Covid," officials say

From CNN's Beijing Bureau

People in protective suits stand guard at an entrance of a residential compound in Xi'an on January 5.
People in protective suits stand guard at an entrance of a residential compound in Xi'an on January 5. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Authorities in the Chinese city of Xi'an — which has locked down its 13 million residents for the past two weeks — said they could begin easing the tight restrictions if the city reaches "zero community Covid."

That means when confirmed coronavirus cases are only identified in government-designated centralized quarantine facilities.

Chen Zhiyun, deputy director of Xi’an’s CDC, said in an interview with state-run CCTV that “no more new community transmission is a necessary condition for lifting lockdown.”

In order to reduce community transmission, Chen said authorities have transported groups of people "with certain transmission risks" to government quarantine facilities.

In a news conference Monday, Xi'an authorities said the city has transferred nearly 40,000 people to the quarantine centers.

Videos circulating online showing large groups of people being transported to the sites with poor facilities have sparked further criticism.

“‘Zero community Covid’ is such a clever word as we just need to keep transporting patients and close contacts out until Xi’an’s case is zero, guaranteeing the great victory of Xi’an’s fight against Covid-19,” one user posted on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform.

“If there are no people in the neighborhood, surely there is no community transmission there,” another Weibo user commented.

Daily cases: Xi'an confirmed 35 new locally transmitted cases on Tuesday, a significant drop compared to the 95 infections reported Monday, according to the National Health Commission. It brings total cases linked to the outbreak to 1,793 since it began December 9.

Not enough food: Residents have continued to voice concerns on Chinese social media about not getting enough food, daily necessities and not receiving urgent medical attention. The hashtag "Grocery shopping in Xi'an is difficult" had been viewed more than 430 million times on Weibo as of Wednesday morning.

Xi'an has faced China's worst Covid-19 outbreak since Wuhan. It has been under lockdown since December 23, and further tightened measures that restricted residents from leaving home unless permitted for mass testing.

9:52 p.m. ET, January 4, 2022

Key things to know about the CDC's updated guidance on Covid-19 isolation

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins, John Bonifield and Nikki Carvajal

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on the recommended Covid-19 isolation period Tuesday, telling people that if they have access to a Covid-19 test and want to take it, the best approach is to use a rapid test toward the end of their five-day isolation period.

The agency has faced pressure over the past week from outside medical experts to include a testing component in its new shortened isolation period.

The updated recommendations do not advise a test for isolated people, but they offer guidance on how those people should respond to a test result if they choose to take one:

  • If the test is positive, isolated people are advised to continue their isolation until 10 days after their symptoms started. If the test is negative, isolated people can end their isolation but are advised to wear a mask around other people until day 10.
  • The recommendations advise people who are isolating to avoid places where they can't wear a mask, such as restaurants and gyms, and to avoid eating around others until day 10.
  • People who are isolating are now urged to wait to travel until at least 10 days after the start of symptoms. Those who must travel on days six to 10 should wear a mask for their entire trip.

The CDC says the changes aim to "focus on the period when a person is most infectious. ... These updated recommendations also facilitate individual social and well-being needs, return to work, and maintenance of critical infrastructure."

Read more about the updated guidance:

3:49 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

Biden says US will double its order of Pfizer's antiviral pill to treat Covid-19

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

rsident Joe Biden on Tuesday said the federal government is doubling the US' order for Pfizer's Covid-19 antiviral pill, Paxlovid, which has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and severe illness significantly.

"Production is in full swing. The United States has more pills than any other country in the world and our supply is going to ramp up over the coming months, as more of these pills are manufactured," Biden said during remarks at the White House. "Today I'm directing my team to work with Pfizer to double our order from 10 million to 20 million treatment courses to be delivered in the months ahead."

Biden had announced a purchase of 10 million courses late last year.

The President also cautioned during his remarks that "we may need even more. That's the estimate we need right now."

The first batch of the pills, he said, were shipped out on Christmas Eve "and more will be shipped this week."

But despite the additional purchase, it will take months to ramp up supply of Pfizer's antiviral treatment. And with forecasts indicating the Omicron surge could peak this month, this could mean the vast majority of courses arrive at a time when the variant is on the decline.