Three times more transmissible than Delta: Govt warns states, UTs on Omicron
- The variant, which has led to shutdowns and has become the dominant strain responsible for the surge of infections across Europe and other countries, has now infected more than 200 people over a period of fewer than three weeks causing the government concern.
The Centre on Tuesday asked state governments and administrations of Union territories to increase surveillance, saying the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is three times more transmissible than Delta.
“Hence, even greater foresight, data analysis, dynamic decision making and strict and prompt containment action are required at the local as well as district levels,” Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the health departments of the states and the Union territories.
The variant, which has led to shutdowns and has become the dominant strain responsible for the surge of infections across Europe and other countries, has now infected more than 200 people over a period of fewer than three weeks causing the government concern.
The bulk of these Omicron cases is from Delhi and Maharashtra, with the western state detecting 11 cases on Tuesday, which took the tally in the state to 65. Delhi has recorded 54 Omicron cases so far.
Bhushan asked state and Union territories to impose restrictions if the rate of new infections reached 10 per cent or higher in a week or if 40 per cent of oxygen or ICU beds were occupied.
“Keeping in mind the higher transmissibility of Omicron, States/UTs (union territories) can take containment measures and restrictions even before these thresholds are reached,” Bhushan said.
“Activate the War rooms/EOCs (Emergency Operation Centre) and keep analysing all trends and surges, no matter how small and keep taking proactive action at the district/local level,” he added.
India, which has vaccinated at least 88 per cent of its eligible population against Covid-19, is now urging citizens to get their second jab as well as follow preventive measures in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus disease amid a renewed threat posed by the Omicron variant.
The variant, first detected in southern African nations in November, has higher transmission rates but experts are yet to understand if the disease severity is lesser when compared to the previous variants