Omicron Variant: Centre Reviews Status & Preparedness In States/UTs


New Delhi: The Centre has advised States and UTs to not let their guard down and maintain their preparedness for fighting COVID19 (and its variants) in view of the new variant Omicron (designated as a Variant of Concern by WHO on 26th November 2021).

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reviewed the public health preparedness of the States for fighting COVID19 and the Omicron variant along with the progress of vaccination with Health Secretaries and NHM MDs of States and UTs, through video conference (VC) today.

He highlighted the trajectory of COVID and brought attention to the emerging evidence on the Omicron variant of COVID-19 driving the growing number of cases worldwide.

Union Health Secretary reiterated that local containment measures are to be put in place by the District/local administration when either the test positivity increases beyond 10% or occupancy of oxygenated beds increases beyond 40%.

However, based on the local situation and population characteristics such as density, etc., and keeping in mind the higher transmissibility of Omicron, States/UTs can undertake containment measures and impose restrictions even before these thresholds are reached.

Any restriction must be enforced for a minimum of 14 days, they were advised. As syndromes of the Omicron variant closely mimic common cold with a higher rate of transmissibility and doubling time, a syndromic approach for COVID containment can be employed.

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