Omicron Fears Spurred by Karnataka, Telangana College Outbreaks: 10 Facts

The government has said "severity of the disease (after being infected by the Omicron strain) is anticipated to be low" because of vaccination and some natural immunity

The samples of the infected people will be sent for genome sequencing

New Delhi: An uptick in COVID-19 cases in some states - including Telangana and Karnataka, where over 100 students tested positive in the past 72 hours - has raised concerns amid an increasing number of infections by the virulent Omicron strain.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. At least 43 students of the Chalmeda Anand Rao Institute of Medical Sciences in Telangana's Karimnagar district tested positive over the weekend, forcing authorities to shut down the campus. Authorities believe a college event held last week - where many were reportedly without masks - could have been the source of the outbreak.

  2. "So far 200 have been tested. On Monday, there will be a camp to test all 1,000 on the campus,'' Dr Juveira, the district's Medical and Health Officer, said. Telangana Public Health Director Dr G Srinivas says he expects more Covid cases by mid-January with numbers peaking by February.

  3. The vaccination status of those infected in the Telangana college is unclear, but state government figures indicate 92 per cent of the eligible adult population has received at least one dose; this is expected to touch 100 per cent by the end of this month. 46 per cent have received both doses.

  4. In Karnataka, 59 students and 10 staff at the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Chikkamagaluru district have tested positive, District Health Officer Dr SN Umesh told PTI. Everyone is asymptomatic and in isolation. Two weeks ago, 306 people tested positive at a college in Dharwad district. Most were fully vaccinated, officials said, adding that a three-day long freshers' party led to the outbreak.

  5. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai recently said new cases in the state were from two clusters - schools and colleges, and residential apartments. Cases from schools and colleges, particularly residential ones, are seeing reduced severity of symptoms, he said.

  6. The state's Primary and Secondary Education Minister, BC Nagesh, told PTI the government would not hesitate to shut down schools if required. "However, in the present situation, all the experts are of the opinion that there is no problem," he said, advising people against panic as "it will be difficult to bring back children to classes".

  7. Karnataka - which reported India's first Omicron Covid cases - was among six states warned by the centre last week. The centre flagged increase cases in four districts, including Tumkur (a 152 per cent spike between November 26 and December 2 compared to a week earlier).

  8. This morning India reported 8,036 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours. Over half - 4,450 - was from Kerala. Karnataka and Telangana reported 456 and 156 cases. The national active caseload remains below one lakh but a sharp spike in the 'R' value - from 0.9 to 0.96 - has raised red flags.

  9. Concern over new clusters comes as the number of Omicron Covid cases in India increase. So far 21 have been reported - nine from Rajasthan, eight from Maharashtra, two from Karnataka (including a South African man who "fled" to Dubai), and one each in Gujarat and Delhi.

  10. The government last week urged people to 'vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate'. Nearly 128 crore doses have been administered in India so far, of which 47.9 crore are the second. Vaccine protection is highest after both doses, medical experts have said, urging people to get double-dosed as soon as possible.

With input from PTI



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