SUDHIR KUMAR / NEW DELHI
The Union Health Ministry has informed that so far 4,868 Omicron cases have been detected in 28 states and Union Territories in the country.
Briefing media today, Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said that out of the total Omicron cases, 1,805 infected people have recovered and currently there are 3,062 active cases of Omicron in the country and one death has been reported from new variant- Omicron.
Informing about the global status of this new Covid Variant, Mr Agarwal said that Omicron has its presence in 149 countries and so far over 5.50 lakh cases have been detected and 115 confirmed deaths have also been reported. He also said that according to World Health Organisaiton, Omicron Variant has a substantial growth advantage over Delta variant. He said, clinical severity data from South Africa, UK, Canada, and Denmark suggests a reduced risk of hospitalization from Omicron as compared to Delta virus. He added that vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization appears to be substantially higher which refers that those vaccinated requires less hospitalization.
Mr Agarwal also informed that a surge in cases of Covid-19 as well as case positivity has been witnessed in the country in the last one week. He said, on 29 December, 2021 where the case positivity was at 1.1 per cent, now it has gone up to 11.05. He also informed that 19 States have reported more than 10,000 active cases while less than 5,000 active cases are in 13 States.
Mr Agarwal also informed that highest number of active cases are in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. On 4th January, there were only 78 districts reporting weekly case positivity rate more than 5 per cent, now number of districts in this category has gone up to 300.
On vaccination status in the country, the Joint Secretary said that 92 per cent of total adult population has received the first dose while 68 per cent has received the 2nd dose. He said, so far 38 per cent of the population aged between 16 to 18 years have been vaccinated with first dose.
Mr Agarwal said that the Health Ministry has also issued revised discharge policy on 9th January based on emerging evidence. Under the revised policy, it has been advised that in mild cases, one can be discharged after at least 7 days from testing positive and no fever for 3 successive days and there is no need for testing prior to discharge. He said, Omicron is highly transmissible virus but most of the cases are mild. He said, test, track, treat, vaccination and Covid appropriate behaviour are applicable for all to fight the pandemic.
During the media briefing, Director General of ICMR Dr Balram Bhargava said, there is significantly enhanced availability of testing products in the country. He said, there are 3,128 testing laboratories are functional in the country and so far around 70 crore samples have been tested. He said, the country has the capacity of daily RT PCR testing of more than 20 lakh samples. Dr Bhargava informed that currently the production capacity of RTPCT kits is over 71 lakh per day, Rapid Antigen kits production capacity is 79 lakh per day, Home Antigen Test Kits 18 lakh per day. He said, as per purposive testing strategy for Coivd-19, which was released recently, in community settings, all symptomatic individuals need testing.