On Saturday morning, PM Narendra Modi chaired a meeting with top officials to address the growing issues of the new variant of the Covid virus and discuss the vaccination status in India. Officials including cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, principal secretary to the PM PK Mishra, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul were among the attendants of this important meeting.
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1529 is a ‘variant of concern.’ First detected in Botswana, the new variant is now creating havoc in other regions like South Africa, Hong Kong and Israel.
The latest variant is now named Omicron by the WHO and it is flagged to be more dangerous than the Delta variant of the virus. It was also speculated to be named Nu following the previous pattern of naming the variants like Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.
Tulio de Oliveira, the director of South Africa’s Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, on November 25, tweeted, “This new variant, B.1.1.529 seems to spread very quick! In less than 2 weeks now dominates all infections following a devastating Delta wave in South Africa (Blue new variant, now at 75% of last genomes and soon to reach 100%)”
“This new variant is really worrisome at the mutational level. South Africa and Africa will need support (financially, public health, scientific) to control it so it does not spread in the world. Our poor and deprived population cannot be in lockdown without financial support,” he added.
On Thursday, the Union Government put out a directive where it was instructed to all the Indian states and UTs to monitor and rigorously test all the international passengers coming from or transiting through the affected regions of South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana.
In the last 24 hours, India reported 465 Covid deaths, taking the country’s Covid toll to 4,67,933 while India also administered 73,58,017 Covid vaccine doses in the last 24 hours.
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