“It is observed that laxity has crept in among people in observing Covid-appropriate behaviour.”
“Omicron is highly transmissible and therefore adhering to Covid norms is very important. People should regularly wear masks, maintain physical distance and avoid gatherings which can become superspreader events,” Guleria told PTI.
While remarking that Omicron is at least three times more transmissible than the Delta variant of coronavirus, the Centre on Tuesday asked states and Union Territories to activate war rooms, keep analysing all trends and surges, ensure proper data analysis, and take strict containment action at the local and district levels.
In a letter, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan advised states and Union Territories to implement strategic interventions for containment like imposition of night curfew, strict regulation of large gatherings, curtailing numbers in marriages and funerals besides increasing testing and surveillance.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, when asked whether the vaccines given in the country are effective in developing immunity against the latest variant, said on Tuesday that available data is limited and peer-reviewed evidence on vaccine efficacy or effectiveness for Omicron is unavailable to date.
“While there is no evidence to suggest that existing vaccines do not work against Omicron variant of coronavirus, some of the mutations reported on spike gene may decrease the efficacy of existing vaccines.
“However, vaccine protection is also by antibodies as well as by cellular immunity, which is expected to be relatively better preserved. Hence vaccines are expected to still offer protection against severe disease and, vaccination with the available vaccines remains crucial.”