Coronavirus Highlights: Omicron variant of Covid-19 is at least 3 times more transmissible than the Delta variant, the Centre has written to all states and Union Territories. In a letter, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “Omicron is at least 3 times more transmissible than Delta. Hence, even greater foresight, data analysis, dynamic decision making and strict and prompt containment action are required at the local and district level”.
India has at least 200 cases of the new Omicron variant till now, the health ministry said on Tuesday. Maharashtra and Delhi have the highest number of Omicron cases, at 54 each followed by Telangana (20) and Karnataka (19). The country recorded 5,326 new coronavirus cases and 453 deaths in the last 24 hours ending 8 am Tuesday. Active cases stand at 79,097, the lowest in 574 days.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka government on Tuesday said that no parties or mass gatherings would be permitted in the state from December 30 to January 2 keeping in view the Covid-19 situation and the rising number of cases of Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters that upon recommendation from experts, the government decided to prohibit mass gatherings in the city and other public places in the state. In Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said that gatherings of more than 200 people will now require permission from the local assistant municipal commissioners.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday informed the Rajya Sabha that there is no evidence to suggest that existing vaccines do not work on Omicron variant of coronavirus, though some of the mutations reported on spike gene may decrease the efficacy of existing vaccines. “There are limited available data, and no peer-reviewed evidence, on vaccine efficacy or effectiveness to date for Omicron,” he said in a written reply. He was responding to a question on whether the vaccinations that are given in the country are effective to develop immunity for this variant.