Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR) Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases Dr Samiran Panda on Tuesday said that the Omicron variant of coronavirus is gradually replacing the Delta variant in many states across the country.
Speaking with ANI, Dr Panda said, "We are seeing a change in India that Omicron is gradually replacing Delta in many of the states and the determining factor is spread of population and people's behaviour. That's why we have to ensure COVID appropriate behaviour."
Responding to whether Delhi has crossed its peak for the wave according to its present trajectory of COVID cases, the head of ICMR's epidemiology said that it is too early to infer a downward trend. "We should wait for the next three-four weeks," he said.
"Delhi, Maharashtra or any state's health team should ensure that the test performance is not going bad. Those who are symptomatic should be encouraged to get tested," he added.
"One should not quickly jump to an inference that the wave is over. You have to wait for three weeks before recognizing any trend," Dr Panda said.
Talking about the recent change in testing guidelines by ICMR, Dr Panda said that its purpose is to manage the epidemic.
"I'm trying to underline is that epidemic is not the same that we are facing now or that we faced in 2020 or 2021. So, as the epidemic has changed, its character, we have to change our testing strategy and the pandemic management strategy as well," he said.
Dr Panda also asserted that the public must avoid panicking and said that the individuals who have been hospitalised or require oxygen support are "in fact getting treated for comorbidities like cirrhosis or chronic kidney disease, etc."
"Associated comorbidities are killing them," he said.
On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry informed that India reported 2,38,018 COVID cases, 310 deaths, and 1,57,421 recoveries in the last 24 hours.
A total of 8,891 Omicron cases have been detected so far.