A New Covid Variant Named “OMICRON” Enters in Parts of South Africa- Sources
On November 26, WHO designated a new COVID variant named "Omicron". According to TAG-VE, this specific variant has various mutations that affect the behaviour of the variant, how fast it spreads and how severe it is.
According to a few researchers, the symptoms caused by this variant include extreme tiredness (irrespective of any age group), unlike the second wave of covid no major drop in oxygen level has been reported this time, patients do not suffer from loss of taste or smell and few patients have reported scratchy throat as well.
There are still various confusions regarding the transmissibility of this variant as compared to the Delta variant.
Since positive cases have suddenly arisen in parts of South Africa, researchers are trying to figure out the reason behind it. There is no clear evidence whether the Omicron variant causes more severe infections in comparison to other variants of COVID.
Few studies suggest that people could get reinfected with the Omicron variant, i.e., they could get infected with this variant even after getting a vaccination shot or after recovering from covid in the past. WHO is working to find out whether the current COVID vaccine can prevent the severeness caused by this variant.
On November 24, a 32-year-old merchant navy engineer from Dombivili, Mumbai, was flying from South Africa to Mumbai via Delhi, having been tested positive. Health officials are still trying to figure out whether the person is infected with the Omicron variant or not. The Mumbai and Delhi airport authorities have been alerted.
The passengers who have arrived in the city over the past 15 days from South Africa have been contracted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Besides South Africa, Hong Kong and various other European nations like the UK, Germany, Italy, and Denmark have also reported cases of the Omicron variant.
The emergence of the new covid variant has left various nations in a panic state. India has become more vigilant towards the emergence of new variants and the passengers travelling from the concerned countries to India.
Karnataka and Delhi governments have urged the Central government to ban international flights coming from the countries where people have been infected by the Omicron variant. In response to the state’s appeal for banning international flights from "at risk," countries were reviewed by the Centre.
Gautam Budh Nagar healthcare is keeping a check on people returning to Noida and Greater Kailash from foreign countries and is consciously conducting the COVID-19 test on them.
WHO on Sunday urged the countries to remove travel restrictions and instead follow the covid protocol to avoid the spread of the new variant. Though imposing travelling restrictions on international flights will reduce the spread of the virus on one hand but the other hand, it will lead to severe negative consequences on the livelihood of its people.
According to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, USA has stated that there is no such evidence so far that the new variant of covid has severe health implications like the previous variants.
India has offered help to South Africa to fight against rising cases of the Omicron variant. "India stands ready to help Africa by providing Indian-made vaccinations. COVAX's orders for Covishield vaccine supply to African countries have been cleared by India. Any new requirements that are forecasted bilaterally or through COVAX shall be taken into account as soon as possible. India is also prepared to provide life-saving pharmaceuticals, test kits, gloves, personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, and medical equipment such as ventilators as needed."
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