Omicron India : As more countries report cases of the new Omicron variant, WHO warned the new strain is a global ‘high risk’.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday classified the new Variant of Concern (VOC) Omicron strain as global ‘high risk’, saying its mutations may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, as per an assessment.
While, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that it will support the Omicron-affected African with supplies of ‘Made-in-India’ vaccines, essential drugs and medical kits.
However, more and more countries reported cases of the new Omicron variant, and several countries imposed travel restrictions on at-risk nations.
Here are the top developments:
- The WHO assessment report cites the Omicron strain’s various mutations as potential for a further spread of infection at the global level. “Depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors including where surges may take place. The overall global risk related to the new VOC Omicron is assessed as very high,” the WHO said.
- India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) expressed “solidarity” and said that it “stands ready” to support with supplies of ‘Made-in-India’ vaccines, other essential life-saving drugs and medical kits. The MEA in a statement said, “We have noted the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19, Omicron.
- We express our solidarity with the countries, particularly in Africa, who have so far been Omicron India: affected by the Omicron variant.” Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday said the situation is being monitored closely in terms of the resumption of commercial international flights, after the emergence of the new Omicron strain.
- India made the remarks in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha. South African doctors say there is a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases due to new omicron variant but the symptoms are mostly mild. Dr. Unben Pillay, a general practitioner in Gauteng province said that so far the cases have been very mild cases, with patients reporting flu-like symptoms, dry coughs, fever, night sweats, a lot of body pains, as per a report by The Associated Press.
- Russia on Monday said its vaccine Sputnik V and Light would likely work against Omicron and that it would be ready to produce hundreds of millions of booster shots. “Gamaleya Institute believes Sputnik V and Light will neutralize Omicron as they have highest efficacy versus other mutations,” Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
- Delhi will continue with test, track, treat strategy amid Omicron scare with special focus on surveillance, isolation of positive cases, contact tracing and strict enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour. The decision was taken in a meeting to review the Covid-19 situation and emerging scenario in light of the Omicron strain chaired by Delhi L-G Anil Baijal.
- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a review meeting on Tuesday regarding the possible third wave and preparations for hospitals in view of the new Omicron variant of Corona.
- In Karnataka, one sample of passengers returning from South Africa was found to be different from the Delta variant. Karnataka Health Minister Sudhakar said, “One is relatively better & the other, we’re finding it a little different from the Delta variant. We’ve sent samples to Centre’s lab. We’re waiting for the final inference. We will get a clear information on December 1 about how the Omicron behaves after genomic sequencing. Accordingly, we will initiate all measures.”
- BioNTech on Monday announced that it has commenced developing a vaccine for the Omicron variant. However, it was unclear whether it would have to rework its established Covid-19 shot.
- The United Kingdom has extended the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme to all adults. This came after two cases of Omicron variant of Covid-19 were detected in the country on Saturday. The total number of cases in UK is 9. Meanwhile, Scotland detects 6 Omicron Covid variant cases.