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COVID DATA January 20, 2022 INDIA: New Cases: 3,17,532 Total Cases: 3,82,18,773 New Deaths: 491 (including old unreported deaths) Total Deaths: 4,87,693 New Tests: 19,35,180 Total Tests: 70,93,56,830 New Vax: 73,38,592 Total Vax: 159,67,55,879 Hot Spot States (daily deaths above 10) Assam: New Deaths: 15 Total Deaths: 6,248 Bengal: New Deaths: 38 Total Deaths: 20,193 Bihar: New Deaths: 11 Total Deaths: 12,156 Delhi: New Deaths: 35 Total Deaths: 25,460 Gujarat: New Deaths: 12 Total Deaths: 10,186 Haryana: New Deaths: 12 Total Deaths: 10,136 Jharkhand: New Deaths: 12 Total Deaths: 5,225 Karnataka: New Deaths: 21 Total Deaths: 38,486 Kerala: New Deaths: 49 Old Unreported Deaths: 85 TPR 37.17% Total Deaths: 51,160 Maharashtra: New Deaths: 49 Total Deaths: 1,41,934 Punjab: New Deaths: 29 Total Deaths: 16,846 Rajasthan: New Deaths: 12 Total Deaths: 9,031 Tamil Nadu: New Deaths: 35 Total Deaths: 37,073 - India Travel Times.Com   [Estd: 1998]       * * *    Travel, More Travel, Travel Means A Million Things     * * *    
Omicron covid, the double whammy, is here! Two cases confirmed

Omicron covid has come to India. The first two cases were confirmed in Bengaluru after genome sequencing tests on Thursday. Twelve suspect cases have been admitted to the LNJP hospital in New Delhi and two in Tamil Nadu hospitals. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal lamented, “It’s sad that we did not stop flights from the affected countries” when Omicron started spreading, despite his plea.

Although the South African variant is highly transmissible, reaching 29 countries in less than a fortnight, and vaccination offers no resistance to its penetration as most cases are vaccine breakthroughs, there were no cases of severe illness or death so far.

However, if the transmission continues at this speed, the first casualty will be the healthcare community as it is a vaccine breakthrough infection and these medical staff are working in a virus-saturated environment. With what result? The healthcare system will collapse as there won't be trained staff available, with grave consequences!

NEW DELHI, Dec 3: India's first two Omicron covid cases were reported from Bengaluru on Thursday while twelve suspects have been admitted to the LNJP hospital in New Delhi, eight of them on Thursday and four on Friday. In Tamil Nadu, two foreign travellers have been hospitalised with unconfirmed Omicron.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “It’s sad that we did not stop flights from affected countries” despite his pleas to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when more such cases were being reported from several countries.

One of the Omicron cases detected in Bengaluru was a South African national (66) who had arrived at the airport a few days ago and the other a private doctor (46) working in the city who had no previous travel history. Both were fully vaccinated long before they contracted the infection. Both are male. No severe symptoms were reported by them. The South African national returned home on November 27.

Five contacts of the doctor have also tested positive for covid and been quarantined in a Government hospital in Bengaluru. Their samples have also now been sent for genome sequencing. None of the 264 contacts of the South African national has tested positive for covid.

Meanwhile, ten South Africans who had arrived in Bengaluru between November 12 and 22 are untraceable even as the health authorities want them to be tested in view of the finding of the new covid variant.

A passenger arriving from Singapore at the Tiruchirappalli International Airport and another from the UK landing in Chennai were found covid positive and admitted to hospitals. The samples have been sent for genome sequencing to Chennai and Bengaluru.

The fast-spreading Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in South Africa last month and has been spreading very fast inside the country and outside through travel. Apart from the two cases detected in India, 373 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in 29 countries. They include Germany, Israel, Belgium, UK, US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Lanka, Malaysia, Botswana, Canada, Scotland, Netherlands. Mostly, travellers from South Africa carried it to other countries.

Appealing to the people not to panic, the Union Health Ministry has asked the countrymen to strictly follow the covid appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated. It said the proposal to provide booster vaccination is under consideration. However, the Centre prefers to complete the process of immunising all the citizens with the two-dose vaccination first before launching a booster dose.

"While, there is no evidence to suggest that existing vaccines do not work on Omicron, some of the mutations reported on spike gene may decrease the efficacy of existing vaccines," the Ministry said. It said the severity of the disease is anticipated to be low because of vaccination, although its transmissibility is very high.

Lanka reported its first case on Friday. The person, who arrived from an African country, is currently in quarantine along with his family members, officials said. Malaysia also said on Friday it has detected its first case in a foreign student who returned after visiting her family in South Africa. Singapore said two travellers from South Africa tested "preliminarily positive" for Omicron. Israel and other countries are reporting more and more infections.

Biden not for “shutdowns and lockdowns"

Likewise, the US had its first case on Thursday. On Friday New York State confirmed five cases of Omicron, Governor Kathy Hochul said. Colorado also reported a case on Friday .Reacting to the discovery, President Joe Biden said there is no immediate need for any lockdown or other restrictions and appealed to people to complete the vaccination process at the earliest. He asked those who are fully vaccinated to go for the booster dose. Appealing for bipartisan support to his efforts, Biden said he is not for “shutdowns and lockdowns."

In India, in the context of the fast spreading Omicron, and the admissions of 12 suspects in the LNJP hospital in the Capital, the Delhi Chief Minister tweeted on Friday, “It’s sad that we did not stop flights from affected countries.”

After the variant was detected in South Africa, followed by countries in Europe, the Chief Minister had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on two occasions to stop flights from countries where the variant was detected, it is reported.

In his letter sent to the Prime Minister on Sunday, Kejriwal had written, “Our country has fought a tough fight against corona for the last one and a half years. With great difficulty and due to selfless service of millions of our covid warriors, our country has recovered from corona. We should do everything possible to prevent the new variant of concern, recently recognised by WHO, from entering India. A number of countries, including the European Union, have suspended travel to the affected regions. I urge you to stop flights from these regions with immediate effect. Any delay in this regard may prove harmful, if any affected person enters India.”

OMICRON FACTS: The first case was discovered on November 18 in Pretoria. Laboratory studies identified it as a new variant on November 25. Panic reactions like travel bans followed worldwide. Yet, clinically, so far it is seen like a mild infection. There has not been any case of severe illness or death reported so far from anywhere. However, its transmissibility is quite high. Vaccine has no effect. Most cases were vaccine breakthroughs. It has spread all over the world in less than a fortnight.

(Also See: Ministry's Q&A)

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