- India has so far reported 358 Omicron cases of which 114 have recovered
- 89% of the adult population has received the first dose of vaccine: Centre
- The treatment protocols for COVID-19 & Delta will apply to Omicron: Centre
New Delhi: The world is witnessing the fourth surge of the COVID-19 pandemic and India has to be on guard and cannot afford to slacken, said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Friday (December 24). While addressing a weekly press briefing, the Union Health Secretary issued a fresh warning against the COVID-19 pandemic in the wake of the rise in Omicron cases and said, “The world is witnessing the fourth surge and the overall positivity is 6.1 per cent. Therefore, we have to be on guard and can’t afford to slacken.”
He said that as compared to Europe, North America and Africa are seeing an increase in COVID19 cases week-on-week. Asia is witnessing a decline in the number of fresh cases, but we have to be on guard.
The top five states with the highest number of active cases, at the moment, are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Karnataka, said Mr Bhushan.
Further speaking on the rise in Omicron cases, he said the country has so far reported 358 Omicron cases in 17 States and UTs while 114 people have recovered from the new variant of coronavirus.
He further said that 89 per cent of the adult population has received the first dose and 61 per cent of the eligible population has received the second dose of COVID19 vaccines.
He further said that the Health Ministry advised the states on December 21 to impose restrictions like night curfew and regulate large gatherings.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare preemptively advised States on 21st December to impose restrictions like night curfew, regulating large gatherings, increase bed capacity and other logistics and strict enforcement of COVID appropriate behaviour, said Union Health Secretary.
Mr Bhushan said that as of now there are 18,10,083 isolation beds, 4,94,314 O2 supported beds, 1,39,300 ICU beds, 24,057 paediatric ICU beds and 64,796 paediatric non-ICU beds are available nationally.
While speaking on the medical oxygen, he said,
There was a 10-fold increase in oxygen demand from the first wave to the second wave. Thus, 18,800 metric tonnes of medical oxygen per day has been arranged for. The cause for concern is 11 states where vaccination coverage is less than the national average.
“World Health Organization (WHO) on December 7 said that Omicron has a significant growth advantage over Delta which means, it has greater transmissibility. Omicron cases double within 1.5-3 days, so we have to remain vigilant with Covid-appropriate behaviour,” he added.
He said that the treatment protocols for COVID-19 and Delta will apply to Omicron, while adding that the evidence has emerged that the immune escape potential for Delta is higher and its high transmission rates will lead to high surge cases.
Dr Balram Bhargava, DG-ICMR urged to continue with the same strategy of COVID appropriate behaviour and ramping up of vaccination.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via 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, that 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.