On the raising concern of the newly detected COVID-19 variant, which is believed to be more contagious than any other variant in the past, the Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya addressing in the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday mentioned that our country has so far not reported any cases of the emerging COVID-19 variant Omicron.
The tweet by news agency ANI wrote, 'No case of COVID19 variant #Omicron reported in India so far: Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya said in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour'.
A week ago, the World Health Organization had classified the latest variant -- B.1.1.529 of SARS-CoV-2 virus -- as Omicron, a 'Variant of Concern' (VOC), which hints it could be more contagious, more virulent or more skilled at evading public health measures, vaccines and therapeutics.
Also, 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.
As per NDTV, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan met with senior officials to underline the fact Omicron does not, at this time, escape detection from existing Covid tests, including (crucially) the cheaper and faster antigen tests that experts have said often returns a false negative. States and UTs have been asked to ensure augmentation of health infrastructure and supervised home isolation, as well as focusing on intensive containment, active surveillance, monitoring of hotspots, and widening vaccine coverage.
First detected in Botswana and South Africa, Omicron has since spread to various countries in Europe, including Belgium, the Netherlands, France and the UK, in Australia and Canada, among others.
India extended a hand of help along other countreies to support South Africa which was in need essential drugs and medical kits.
As per India Today, 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 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. Scindia made the remarks in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha.,' the report further reads.
On the close monitoring and care taken at the travel locations, India seems so far safe from the COVID-19 variant Omicron, and yet reported no cases of the highly risky variant.
(with inputs from agencies)