Journey of Omicron in India so far:
India detected its first Omicron case on December 2 in Karnataka and till now, the country has logged more than Six thousand cases of this virus. Before it was reported in India, Omicron cases had been found in 29 countries. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year. On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron‘. The WHO has classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.
India’s first Omicron cases:
Union Health Ministry was alerted after the two positive cases failed to match the Delta variant. Of the first two confirmed cases in the country, one is a 66-year-old man while the other is a 46-year-old health worker.
Case 1: The 66-year-old man is a South African national who received both the doses of COVID-19 vaccine. He travelled to Bengaluru with a COVID negative report on November 20 but was tested positive on arrival.
Case 2: The 46-year-old man is a doctor at a government hospital in Bengaluru with no travel history. He developed fever and complained of body ache on November 22 and was tested positive on November 22. noting the low CT value, his sample was sent for genome sequencing.
Situation In India:
- Seroprevalence studies indicate that a large proportion of the population has already been exposed to the virus providing some level of protection to subsequent infections.
- Further, the immunisation campaign has gained momentum. Approximately 44% of Indian adults have been fully vaccinated and 82% have received at least one dose.
- Scientists believe that prior infection followed by one or two doses of vaccination may have a larger protective effect than two doses of the vaccination alone.
India deal with Omicron variant:
- Several Indian cities and states have put in place night curfews and 50 per cent capacity restrictions in public transport and offices.
- Localised lockdown in hotspot localities will help in controlling the community spread of COVID-19.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the Covid-19 vaccine for children and booster doses for Health workers and senior citizens.
Omicron cases in India:
|Jammu & Kashmir||23||13||10|
|And & Nicobar Islands||3||3||0|
Some Important Facts about Omicron Virus:
Timeline of Omicron Virus:
- 24 November 2021: South Africa’s Gauteng Province and Botswana.
- 26 November 2021: WHO designated B.1.1.529 lineage (Omicron) as a Variant of Concern. Netherland, Israel, Hong Kong and Belgium reported Omicron variant cases.
- 27 November 2021: Australia, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany and England.
- 28 November 2021: Denmark and Austria.
- 29 November 2021: Canada, Sweden, Spain, and Switzerland.
- 30 November 2021: France, Japan, and Portugal.
- 1 December 2021: Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Norway, Ireland, the USA, Ghana, UAE, and Nigeria.
- 2 December 2021: Two cases of Omicron variant detected in India.
- The WHO has decided to name the variants after the letters of the Greek alphabet, to avoid the countries that first detected them being stigmatised.
- WHO selected the name Omicron, instead of Nu or Xi, the two letters between Mu and Omicron. This is because: Xi happens to be a popular surname in China (avoiding ‘causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups). Nu could have been confused with the word ‘new’.
Symptoms of the Omicron:
So far, there are no severe symptoms such as loss of smell or taste, high temperature or severely blocked nose in the new strain has been noted. All Omicron variant cases have mild symptoms which are as follows:
- Mild fever
- Body aches
- Severe headache
- Runny nose
- Sore throat