Omicron: The deadly variant of Covid-19 called Omicron is already making waves for all the bad reasons. It has become the new cause of concern for the people across the country and is so with even people in Telangana. The state government is confident that it has all the health infrastructure in place to handle the consequences, but are we really ready to face Omicron?
With virtually no check on Covid restrictions and people moving around freely, the Omicron variant is likely to pose a bigger challenge to the state machinery! The Telangana government has set up a cabinet sub-committee to tackle the situation that may arise due to Omicron. The four-member committee, headed by State Health Minister T Harish Rao, will recommend to the state government the measures needed to tackle the current pandemic situation and also to expedite the COVID-19 vaccination.
Experts have said that this COVID variant is seven times more lethal than the Delta variant and it spreads many times faster. According to a recent study, the extent to which the Delta variant spread in 100 days, the new variant has surpassed it in just 15 days. Moreover, so far 32 mutations of this variant have already have been found. When a virus mutates rapidly, it becomes very difficult to fight it.
Among the 16 countries where this variant has been found are a few African nations such as South Africa, Botswana, some European countries, Australia, Canada, Israel and Hong Kong. India has already started tracking people who might possibly carry the virus, especially those who have recently returned from a foreign country. But so far, the central government has not yet confirmed a single case of this variant.
WHO has, so far, placed five COVID variants in the list of “Variant of Concern”. Among them was the Delta variant, which was responsible for the second wave of COVID in India. About 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh people died in that wave. Now, if the new variant is even more dangerous, as is being said, it could be extremely dangerous.
The Telangana government is on high alert to meet any eventuality in the wake of reports of a possible third wave of Covid-19 pandemic triggered by Omicron, a new variant of the virus which has been first reported in South Africa, state government officials said. Director of public health Dr G Srinivasa Rao said there was no need for people to panic over the new variant of Sars-Cov-2, as the government machinery was fully prepared to handle the surge in Covid-19 infections.
“All that the people should do is to strictly follow the Covid-19 guidelines, including wearing of masks, maintaining of physical distancing and regular sanitisation. They should not let their guard down under any circumstances,” Rao said.
The director said a high alert had been sounded at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad, though there were no direct flights from South Africa to Hyderabad. The number of positive cases for Covid-19 was stable in the state and there was no sudden increase in infections, he said.