Don’t delay getting fully vaccinated: Centre after Omicron cases found in India
India has now become the 30th country to have confirmed the presence of Omicron Covid-19 variant, after two males aged 66 and 46, were found positive with the strain of the virus in Karnataka.
The Centre on Thursday asked Indians not to delay getting fully jabbed with Covid-19 vaccine after two cases of the Omicron variant were detected in the country. “Increased vaccine uptake is the need of the hour,” Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general Balram Bhargava said during a press briefing.
He added that adhering to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour is also a key measure that individuals must follow in order to keep the Omicron variant from spreading any further in the country. Bhargava pointed out that awareness is “absolutely essential,” but asked people not to panic.
The ICMR chief pointed out that not attending as well as organising mass gatherings will help in “breaking the chain of transmission of Omicron.”
India has now become the 30th country to have confirmed the presence of Omicron Covid-19 variant, which was first discovered in South Africa last month. Both cases have been detected in Karnataka, with two males aged 66 and 46, testing positive for the variant.
The confirmation of Omicron cases in India arrived earlier in the day following genome sequencing results from a laboratory under the INSACOG consortium. Joint secretary of Union health ministry, Lav Agarwal said during the press briefing that all primary and secondary contacts of both the males have been identified and are under isolation.
Though the Centre refrained from providing more information about the two positive males from Karnataka, a report by Hindustan Times stated that both had travelled to South Africa.
Meanwhile, Dr VK Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog said that the detection of Omicron Covid-19 variant through genome sequencing proves that the existing screening systems are “working well.” However, he sidetracked any discussion on Covid-19 booster shots at the moment, saying that the Centre’s focus is to fully vaccinate all adults in India first.
“Currently, let’s be very clear, our priority is very clear – complete the task of vaccinating all adults with both doses,” Dr Paul said, adding that “scientific reasoning” for offering Covid-19 booster shots and the nitty-gritties associated with it are “under examination.”
Agarwal highlighted that both the patients of Omicron Covid-19 variant in Karnataka have mild symptoms so far, and such is the trend noticed not just in India but in all such cases across the world too. “[The] WHO has said that its emerging evidence is being studied,” he informed the press briefing.
Notably, India on Wednesday deferred the resumption of international flights from December 15 onwards in view of the emergence of Omicron Covid-19 variant.