New Delhi: A 37-year-old man who arrived in Delhi from Tanzania and was admitted to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital (LNJP) was today found positive with the new Covid variant, Omicron, taking the total number of such cases in the country to five.
Here are the top 10 developments on this big story:
- “Twelve samples had been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control. One was found carrying the Omicron variant. The patient is an Indian and had returned from Tanzania a few days ago,” news agency PTI said quoting an unnamed official.
- “The patient’s travel history is being collated and contacts being traced,” the official further said.
- The first two cases of Omicron in India were reported from Karnataka earlier this week. The other two cases were detected from Gujarat and Maharashtra.
- Omicron, first detected in South Africa on November 25, has been described as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- “PM sahib, please stop the flights”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Chief Minister had also written a letter to the Prime Minister saying the same.
- “Awareness is absolutely essential”, underlined the government as the first Omicron cases were confirmed in the country. It highlighted a WHO advisory that says Covid-appropriate behavior – use of face masks, avoiding crowded places, practising social distance and frequently sanitising hands – remain effective in guarding against infection by any variant, including Omicron.
- The WHO has urged countries to prepare by accelerating vaccinations and put mitigation plans in place to maintain essential health services. “Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said in a statement.
- International airports across India are intensively screening and testing all passengers from ‘at-risk’ countries. In line with central guidelines, all passengers from such countries have to take RT-PCR tests on arrival. The test result has to be negative in order to leave the airport.
- The list of countries deemed “at-risk” for now includes the United Kingdom, all 44 countries in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.
- Researchers are still checking if Omicron is more lethal and if current vaccines offer protection.