There is no evidence that Omicron causes more hospitalisations and death or is more lethal than Delta, which drove the deadly second wave of Covid in India, government sources said today.
India has 23 cases of Omicron, the Covid variant found in South Africa last month, and samples from more suspects are being genome-tested.
Omicron has spread to 38 countries but no death has been reported from anywhere, top Union Health Ministry sources said. There is also no evidence that there is a rise in the number of people admitted to hospitals, they asserted.
"There is nothing to show so far that Omicron is more dangerous than Delta," official sources said, adding that for now, there would be no changes in the government's policy for testing and treatment.
There are more than 1,300 Omicron patients worldwide. Some 50 per cent of these cases are in South Africa and the UK.
Sources said there were no reports of a significant rise in hospitalisations or deaths from Omicron.
"In South Africa, where both Delta and Omicron are prevalent, it was found that when there were 25,000 Covid cases, 2,000 were in hospital. Now 75,000 are Covid positive and but the number of people in hospital is 3,000. But that includes both Delta and Omicron," source said.
In the next 10 days, the government is likely to come up with a clearer assessment of Omicron, its symptoms and its effect, said officials.
Across the world, scientists and researchers are trying to break down the newest Covid variant, which is believed to have over 50 mutations. Restrictions that had been eased when Covid cases dropped are returning to many countries.
Deaths and hospitalizations from Covid-19 will continue to rise in Europe in the coming weeks as vaccination rates remain insufficient to counter the trends, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned on Tuesday.