“Follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, including the use of face masks and maintaining social distance. Avoid non-essential travel and stay away from large crowds and gatherings,” the ministry officials informed.
The Union Health Ministry in a media briefing today warned of the dangers posed by Omicron as 10 new cases were reported from Delhi earlier in the day, but by evening the city had now 22 confirmed cases.
Referring to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Centre said that the Omicron variant is spreading faster than the Delta variant of the coronavirus in South Africa, where Delta circulation was low.
“It is likely that Omicron spread will outpace Delta variant where community transmission occurs,” the government said.
On the COVID-19 situation in the country, it said 19 districts are reporting weekly positivity between 5 and 10 percent and five districts over 10 per cent. Districts with over five percent COVID case positivity rate need to ensure restrictive measures until it is below five percent for at least two weeks, the MoHFW stated.
It assured that sufficient systematic and strategic sampling is being undertaken for genome sequencing for detection of Omicron cases in India.
The state wise distribution of Omicron cases stands at 32 in Maharashtra, 22 in Delhi, 17 in Rajasthan, 8 in Karnataka, 8 in Telangana, 5 in Gujarat, 5 in Kerala and 1 each in Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa which then notified the world about the possibility of it being more transmissible than the variants detected earlier. Since then, it has spread to the majority of the nations across the globe. While majority of the Omicron cases detected in India are International passengers, some cases reportedly have not had any international travel history allaying fears of community spread of the highly transmissible variant.
Centre has already urged states to step up surveillance measures and focus on sequencing positive samples in an effort to identify cases and potential hotspots.
The G7 (Group of Seven) called Omicron the “biggest current threat to global public health” and said it was now “more important than ever” for countries to “closely cooperate”.