March 24, 2023

Omicron spreading fast, Delta still dominant strain: Centre | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Centre said a rise in Covid-19 cases since December 26 could be part of a global upsurge linked to Omicron, with daily new cases crossing 10,000 and India’s R-Naught value (rate of transmission) stands at 1.22, indicating a wider spread in cases.
While attributing the recent case-spike to a possible spurt of Omicron infections in the country, officials maintained that Delta continues to be the dominant strain in India. The government also said that severity issues of the Omicron variant are still not settled though it appears to be mild. Studies are still under way to assess the impact.
“We are already aware that this variant is highly transmissible and that perhaps explains the speed with which it is rising in the world,” Niti Aayog member-health VK Paul said.
Paul also expressed concern over a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases and positivity in certain states including Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Jharkhand, Chhattishgarh, West Bengal and Gujarat. “There is an uptick. Several states are showing a trend which is going up. We believe on scientific basis that RO is now 1.22 as per the available data. So, cases are now enlarging, not shrinking. So far, the deaths are stable in the range of 250-260, below 300 typically, and that remains stable, which is reassuring as of now,” he said.
The number of districts with more than 10% positivity has also increased sharply to eight now from two last week. Besides, 14 districts have a positivity in the range of 5-10%. Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Karnataka and Gujarat are emerging as states and Union territories of concern on the basis of weekly cases and positivity, said Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry.
The Centre has also written to eight states and UTs witnessing a rapid surge in Covid-19 cases to enhance testing, strengthen hospital preparedness, increase the pace and coverage of Covid vaccination drive and strict enforcement of restrictions to contain spread. The states are Haryana, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, West Bengal and Jharkhand. The states have been asked to be vigilant in view of recent increase in domestic travel.
Officials said there is no need to panic as the country is prepared in terms of large scale vaccination coverage, health infrastructure and services but cautioned against complacency. “As a nation we have experience and the massive shield of very high coverage of the vaccine. There is no need to panic but there is a need to be prepared, to be responsible and disciplined,” Paul said.
Around 90% of the adult population is now covered with at least first dose of Covid vaccines, whereas 63% has received both.

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