New Delhi: India recorded 8,822 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the COVID-19 tally to 4,32,45,517, states the Health Ministry. The country has been reporting a sudden spike in COVID-19 numbers in the last few days, bringing the daily positivity rate to 2 per cent while the weekly positivity rate to 2.35 per cent.
Two new subvariants of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5 have also been found in the country – Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The two sub lineages were added to the World Health Organization’s monitoring list in March and have also been designated as variants of concern by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Globally, currently these new subvariants of Omicron are responsible for driving the surge.
Here’s what we know about the new subvariants of Omicron so far:
– ECDC says that BA.4 and BA.5 do not appear to carry a higher risk of severe disease than other forms of Omicron
– However, ECDC mentions that since there is an increase in case numbers due to higher transmission rates, there is an increased risk of hospitalisations and deaths
– Last month, South African scientists said that the sub lineages of the Omicron coronavirus variant can dodge antibodies from earlier infection well enough to trigger a new wave in countries
– For India, top government expert, Dr Samiran Panda, Additional director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said that there is no need to panic. He said, “It is about examining the data very carefully. So, if from a particular site or from a district or a few districts in the state upsurges or peak is being observed, then we need to look at the number of tests conducted in that area. The local data needs to be examined carefully for local-level decision making.”
– On the other hand, Delhi Lieutenant Governor, Vinai Kumar Saxena, who is also chairman of the Department Of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has directed officials to conduct genome sequencing of positive cases to check for the new variant. He has also directed the health department and other departments concerned to remain ‘vigilant’ and to be prepared with hospital beds and other facilities to tackle any surge. He also emphasised on the need for strict enforcement of Covid protocol such as the mandatory wearing of masks in public and maintaining social distancing.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.