Shillong: Meghalaya on Friday reported 64 new COVID-19 cases, 26 less than the previous day, with the tally rising to 85,085, a health department official said.

Of the fresh cases, 55 were detected in East Khasi Hills district, three each in Ri Bhoi and West Garo Hills and one each in West Jaintia Hills, West Khasi Hills and North Garo Hills, Health Services Director Dr Aman War said.

The death toll remained at 1,485 as no new fatality due to the infection was reported, the official said.

Fourteen more people were cured of the disease during the day, taking the total number of recoveries to 83,338. Meghalaya now has 262 active cases.

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said no fresh case of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus was reported in the state.

Of the four patients infected with the new strain, three have already recovered and one is undergoing treatment, he told reporters after a review meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the state.

People having symptoms of COVID-19 are requested to go for tests, he said, adding that the state government has been focusing on testing and treating to contain the spread of the disease.

Symptomatic patients are advised to strictly go for home isolation for seven days while those who are asymptomatic need to complete five-day home isolation. Their condition will be monitored by the health workers, the deputy CM said.

Those who are entering the state are mandatorily required to submit negative RT-PCR reports, not older than 72 hours, irrespective of whether they are vaccinated or not.

The state has conducted over 12.58 lakh sample tests for COVID-19 so far.

Over 21.36 lakh people have been inoculated with 8,92,384 of them having received both doses of vaccines, War said.

The deputy chief minister also announced that a vaccination drive to administer precautionary doses to senior citizens will start from January 10.

We have enough vaccines. The health department is now preparing for commencement of the vaccination drive for the booster dose from next week. First, we will start giving the booster jab to those who are 60 years of age and above. Our second target would be health workers and frontline workers, the deputy chief minister said.

This is in line with the direction issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on Thursday to all states and union territories on the need to administer the “precaution dose” to all healthcare professionals, frontline workers and senior citizens.

Several immunised people are contracting the disease but the need for hospitalisation is less for them, Tynsong said, while stressing on the need for the inoculation programme.

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