Omicron variant three times more transmissible: Centre warns states
The Centre has told states that the Omicron variant of coronavirus, based on current scientific evidence, is at least three times more transmissible than the Delta strain, asking them to ensure prompt and focused action if there is any sign of a surge.
The Union health ministry has noted said that 200 cases of Omicron have been detected in the country, so far, with Maharashtra and Delhi reporting the most — 54 cases of the variant each. Of total Omicron cases in the country, 77 have been discharged or have recovered.
In a letter to state health departments, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that a close watch must be kept on districts where test positivity has been more than 10 per cent over the past week or where 40 per cent oxygen-supported or ICU beds are occupied.
“In case, any one of these parameters are met in any district, district-level containment measures and restrictions may be put in place forthwith. Equally important, the restrictions must be strictly enforced,” Bhushan said.
States have been advised to take containment measures and restrictions even before these thresholds are reached based on the local situation, keeping in mind the higher transmissibility of Omicron.
Omicron variant: Event cancelled better than life cancelled, says WHO
A number of countries have acted to try to halt the spread of the Omicron variant, including imposing travel curbs
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading faster than the Delta variant and is causing infections in people already vaccinated or who have recovered from the Covid-19 disease, the world health body warned on Monday.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking in Geneva, remarked, “An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled. It’s better to cancel now and celebrate later, than to celebrate now and grieve later.” “There is now consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the briefing. “And it is more likely people vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 could be infected or re-infected,”
A number of countries have acted to try to halt the spread of the variant, including imposing travel curbs. The WHO has also said it would be “unwise” to conclude from early evidence that Omicron was a milder variant. Dr Tedros said that “all of us are sick of this pandemic. All of us want to spend time with friends and family. All of us want to get back to normal”. But he said that everyone, “leaders and individuals”, had to make difficult decisions to protect people.