There is a total of 26 Omicron cases in India across five states, but all with mild symptoms, the health ministry said on Friday at its weekly briefing. Of the 25 Omicron cases, nine are in Rajasthan, three in Gujarat, 11 in Maharashtra, two in Karnataka, and one in Delhi.
Joint secretary, health ministry, Lav Agarwal, also present at the briefing, said that there have been 83 Covid-positive cases in India among travellers who came from ‘at risk’ countries, and of those, 13 were found to be infected with Omicron variant.
ICMR chief Balram Bhargava, meanwhile, advised caution against the new variant, saying that although Omicron hasn’t yet posed a high threat to public healthcare, “we still need to be vigilant”. Bhargava also said, “We are trying to grow Omicron in a laboratory. Once that’s done, we will be able to test the efficacy of vaccines.”
“Regular meetings are being organised to keep a watch on the global scenario and Covid scene in India with a focus on Omicron. we need help to not spread panic. District level restrictions to be implemented where positivity over 5%,” he added.
Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog, said that usage of masks is showing a decline in India causing worry. “Mask usage is declining in India. we have to remember that both vaccines and masks are important. As far as protection capability is concerned, we are now operating at a risky and unacceptable level. we should learn from the global situation,” he said.
The ministry also added that there are no recommendations yet on vaccinations for kids from the National Technical Advisory group.
On the brighter side, Agarwal said that over 131 crore total vaccine doses are administered across the country so far, and quite half of the adult population is now fully vaccinated. As on December 9, over 74.5 lakh doses were administered.
Kerala still continues to report the greatest number of Covid cases in the county – as much as 52.8% of the overall cases in India were reported from the southern state last week.
Mentioning the daily Covid figure, the health ministry said India continues to record below 10,000 cases for the 14th consecutive day on Friday. “While overall positivity across the country gives comfort, there are still a large number of districts reporting high case positivity,” Agarwal added.