Govt warns about ‘risky’, 'unacceptable' level of mask usage amid Omicron scare | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Govt warns about ‘risky’, 'unacceptable' level of mask usage amid Omicron scare

By | Written by Kunal Gaurav
Dec 10, 2021 06:08 PM IST

India has so far reported 26 cases of Omicron from five states - Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka.

The Centre on Friday warned about the decline in usage of face masks across the country amid the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus. Dr VK Paul, Niti Aayog member (health), told a regular press briefing that people are operating at a “risky and unacceptable” level, stressing that both masks and vaccines are important for protection against coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Dr VK Paul, Niti Aayog member (health), told a regular press briefing that people are operating at a “risky and unacceptable” level.
Dr VK Paul, Niti Aayog member (health), told a regular press briefing that people are operating at a “risky and unacceptable” level.

“Mask usage is declining in India. We have to remember that both vaccines and masks are important. As far as protection capability is concerned, we are now operating at a risky and unacceptable level. We should learn from the global situation,” Paul said.

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India has so far reported 26 cases of Omicron from five states - Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka. The latest case of Omicron has been identified in a person from Mumbai’s Dharavi area who had recently tested positive for Covid-19 after returning from Tanzania. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said that the patient is asymptomatic and is currently admitted at Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai. The patient was not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Give correct address: Centre urges international travellers amid Omicron scare

Pointing to the speed of the Omicron spread, Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, said that only two countries had reported Omicron cases till November 24 but the number has surged to 59 in almost two weeks. He said states have been notified to increase their surveillance and actively test passengers arriving from other countries as the new variant of concern continues to spread. Highlighting the importance of adequate precautions, Agarwal said laxity in public health measures leading to a surge in cases in Europe.

Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR, told the briefing that scientific evidence for diagnosis and treatment are being reviewed regularly and, at the moment, the treatment for Covid-19 remains unchanged. Bhargava said regular meetings are being organised to keep a watch on the evolving global scenario and the situation in India with a focus on Omicron.

“We need help to not spread panic,” he added.

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