Here are ten important updates on Omicron:
Delhi has reported 20 cases of the new variant since the first case was logged on December 5. Ten of these patients have been discharged, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today, adding that many international passengers have been testing positive for Covid lately.
Maharashtra, the state with the highest overall Covid cases, has so far recorded the most number of Omicron cases at 32. Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh are the other states that've registered patients affected by the new variant, said to be highly transmissible.
In Karnataka, five more cases were recorded on Thursday, Health Minister Dr Sudhakar K said, taking the total number of cases in the southern state to eight.
The centre has told states to step up surveillance and genome sequencing amid fresh concerns. With new travel rules, tighter restrictions have been put in place at airports.
With 11,708 cases, the United Kindom tops the list of the countries affected by the new variant, followed by Denmark that has seen 9,009 patients. Norway has the third-highest number of cases (1,792) in this list followed by South Africa (1,134).
United States President Joe Biden on Thursday warned of a "winter of severe illness and death" for those unvaccinated against COVID-19 as the new variant spreads.
Warning that Omicron was spreading at an unprecedented rate, the World Health Organization on Tuesday said it had "probably" spread to most nations.
Speaking to NDTV earlier this week, top WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the spread could have been prevented. "It was in... the world's hands to prevent this, if we had used the tools that we have equitably around the world. We had enough vaccines to vaccinate people around the world."
IMF chief Gita Gopinath on Wednesday, in an exclusive interview with NDTV, also made comments on "vaccine equity". "Vaccine inequity is tragic. We are at the end of 2021 with high-income countries having vaccinated 70 per cent of their population and lower-income countries less than four per cent," she said.
Experts are still trying to understand if the new variant evades vaccine protection.
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