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Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhusan to hold review meeting with states on Omicron variant of COVID-19 today
On Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhusan will hold a review meeting with the states on the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 cases have been declining in India. However, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 found in South Africa has been a cause of concern in the country as well.
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On Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhusan will hold a review meeting with the states on the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Furthermore, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a meeting at 11 AM to review Delhi's preparedness in view of Omicron variant and third wave. It has to be remembered that Delhi was one of the badly affected cities during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, earlier this year.
The Delhi government has also designated Lok Nayak Hospital to treat people infected with Omicron variant. On Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to discuss steps that need to be taken in view of threat of a new COVID-19 variant from African countries.
According to an ANI report, on Monday Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged people to stay alert against the new coronavirus variant Omicron. The Prime Minister also chaired a meeting on Saturday to review public health preparedness and vaccination-related situation for COVID-19.
The B.1.1.529 variant or Omicron was first reported to WHO from South Africa on November 24, 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9, 2021.
This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.
There are a number of studies underway and the TAG-VE will continue to evaluate this variant. WHO will communicate new findings with the Member States and to the public as needed.
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