In wake of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 surfacing from South Africa, the administration and health officials of the nation have been scrambling to ensure the prevention of a breakout. As a preparatory measure, the Centre on Sunday issued orders to states to focus on intensive containment and active surveillance of cases.
After a brief respite from the damage caused by the detrimental Delta variant which took the world by storm in the second wave of Covid-19, ‘Omicron’ is the newest strain of the virus that has recently been declared as a 'variant of concern’ (VOC) by the apex global health body World Health Organization (WHO).
With the identification of the new strain, surveillance has already been stepped up in India with many seeking a ban on international flights to contain the spread. The reports of the Centre's reaction came amid reports of two persons who returned from South Africa testing positive for Covid-19. However, they were detected with the Delta variant and not Omicron.
Nevertheless, the discovery of the new strain has left states and UTs across India concerned and in hyperdrive.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday said that all government departments are on high alert in the wake of a new Covid-19 variant and appealed to people to avoid unnecessary gatherings.
Sisodia said that government departments, especially health, have been instructed to again enhance infrastructure and other necessary facilities to tackle any possible threat of the new variant.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), in its meeting on Monday, is likely to take a call on RT-PCR testing of passengers deboarding from international flights, and quarantining of passengers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong and other countries where the new coronavirus variant has been reported.
The deputy chief minister appealed to the public to exercise caution about Covid-19 and follow social distancing norms even as the government is keeping a vigil on any possible case of the new variant.
The new variant of Covid-19, feared to have a high amount of spike mutations unseen before, has been detected in South Africa, with authorities there confirming 22 positive cases associated with it on Thursday.
(With PTI inputs)