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HomeLifestyleHealth“Activate war rooms”, Centre tells states as Omicron cases cross 200

“Activate war rooms”, Centre tells states as Omicron cases cross 200

Warning that Omicron “is at least 3 times more transmissible than the Delta” variant, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to states to “activate the war rooms” as India’s Omicron cases touched 218.

Centre’s claim

  • Even as the Centre asked states to ensure 100% vaccination coverage and increase bed capacity, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, in a written reply, informed the Rajya Sabha that “vaccines are expected to still offer protection against severe disease and vaccination with the available vaccines remains crucial.” He however conceded that there’s “limited available data” and “no peer-reviewed evidence on vaccine efficacy or effectiveness to date for Omicron.”
  • The Centre’s assertions came even as it was revealed that 81% of the Omicron cases in Maharashtra were fully vaccinated, with some even receiving a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which is not yet officially available in the country.
  • According to Dr Vineeta Bal, immunologist at Pune’s Indian Institute of Science Education, most available vaccines, including Covaxin and Covishield, are not transmission blocking as they are “not strong enough to locally destroy the virus” at the point of entry, which is the nose and throat, as they are intramuscular injections.
  • Rising cases, increasing clampdowns
  • With 11 new cases, Maharashtra’s Omicron caseload reached 65 even as three cases were detected in J&K while two new cases were detected in Odisha. Delhi saw the highest jump in cases, with 24 new infections coming to light, taking its tally to 54.
  • States are clamping down on impending festivities for New Year’s eve, with Karnataka banning mass gatherings in hotels, pubs and restaurants in view of rising Covid-19 cases, including those of Omicron, from December 30 to January 2, according to a statement by state CM Basavaraj Bommai. Delhi and Maharashtra too have issued similar restrictions. The Centre too, has recommended measures like night curfew and regulating attendance in offices.

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