Omicron variant three times more transmissible: Centre warns states


The centre has told states that the variant is at least three times more transmissible than the Delta strain, alerting them for a surge in infections.

The Union Health Ministry said that 200 cases of have been detected in the country, with Maharashtra and Delhi reporting the highest: 54 patients each. Of the total cases in the country, 77 have been discharged or have recovered.

In a letter to states, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that a close watch has to be kept on districts where the test positivity has been more than 10 per cent in the last one week or the bed occupancy of over 40 per cent on oxygen supported or ICU beds.

“In case any one of these parameters are met in any District, district level containment measures and restrictions may be put in place forthwith. Equally important, the restrictions must be strictly enforced,” Bhushan said.

States were advised to take measures for containment and restrictions before infections spike, keeping in mind the higher transmissibility of

The ministry said that at the district level there should be constant review of emerging data regarding the population affected by Covid-19, geographical spread, hospital infrastructure and its utilisation and manpower.

“Even greater foresight, data analysis, dynamic decision making and strict and prompt containment action is required at the local and district level. The decision making at the State and district level must be very prompt and focused,” Bhushan said in his letter.

His ministry reiterated that states have to undertake right proportion of RT-PCR tests in total tests being conducted daily and ensure contact tracing of all Covid positive persons.

“Increase bed capacity, other logistics like ambulances, mechanism for seamless shifting of patients, availability and operational readiness of oxygen equipment, buffer stock of drugs to be ensured by prompt utilization of Emergency Covid Response Package funds released by Central Government,” government has told states.

The focus should be on districts where the first and second dose coverage of vaccination is less than the national average.

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