As the number of COVID-19 variants omicron cases reaches over 100 in India, the Indian health experts said that the new variant might be less severe, however, the high transmissibility rate could be a worrying factor.
The health experts have asked the country to be cautious the same way it was during the second wave of COVID-19. They also emphasized on the need for a booster dose and had asked the people to follow a COVID-appropiate behaviour.
Experts emphasised that the administration must keep a close watch this time, and institute tough preventive measures (if required) early.
Dr G C Khilnani, Chairman Pulmonology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, PSRI Hospital views said, "we have seen COVID-19 spread in India after a time lag of 3- 4 months from its spread in Western Europe, hence we need to be just as cautious as we were in the second wave. The protection that vaccination offered against infection also declines with the passage of time. It is time we announce a policy for a booster dose for people with comorbodities."
"Evidences till date have shown that the latest variant multiplies at a faster rate causing infection at a faster rate but the cases reported in India showed milder infections," he added.
Dr Sheeba Marwah, Assistant Professor and COVID-19 Nodal Officer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Vardhma in Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital told ANI, "though the severity of infection caused by this variant has been reported to be lesser as compared to its predecessor, yet the nearly 70 times faster replication is the cause of worry."
"Having the propensity to making even the fully vaccinated its prey, we might head toward inevitable third wave," added Dr Marwah.
Detected in South Africa, Omicron, the latest Covid variant which is also "highly transmissible" has now been reported in six states.
Several studies are going on at present to understand the contagiousness of the virus and the effectiveness of existing vaccines against it.
Amid a surge in cases of Omicron variant in the country, the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Tuesday issued new guidelines for international travellers from 'at-risk' countries arriving at six major airports to mandatorily prebook an RT-PCR test starting December 20.