World Witnessing Fourth Surge In Covid Cases, Cannot Lower Our Guard: Govt Amid Omicron Threat

New Delhi: The Central government on Friday said that people should not lower their guard as the world is witnessing a fourth surge in Covid-19 cases.

“The world is witnessing the fourth surge and and the overall positivity is 6.1%. Therefore, we have to be on guard and we can’t afford to slacken,” said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

“Europe, North America and Africa are seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases week-on-week, Asia is still witnessing a decline in cases week-on-week,” he added.

Bhushan said the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry preemptively advised the states earlier on Tuesday to impose restrictions like night curfew, regulating large gatherings, increase bed capacity and other logistics besides strict enforcement of Covid appropriate behaviour.

Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Health Secretary said that the  Omicron variant has significant growth advantage over Delta.

“The WHO on December 7 said that Omicron has a significant growth advantage over Delta, which means it has greater transmissibility. Omicron cases double within 1.5 to 3 days. So, we have to remain vigilant with Covid appropriate behaviour,” he said.

The Health Secretary said there are currently 358 Omicron cases in 17 states and Union Territories of India.

“Of 358 cases of the Omicron variant detected in India so far, 183 were analysed and 121 of them had foreign travel history,” said Bhushan.

“Of 183 Omicron cases analysed so far, 91% were fully vaccinated with three having booster shots, 70% were asymptomatic, 61% were males,” he added, PTI reported.

The Health Secretary said the top five states with the highest number of active cases at the moment are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Karnataka.

“The number of persons recovered is 114,” he added.

Talking about the Covid-19 vaccination in the country, the Health Secretary said: “89% of the adult population has received the first dose and 61% of the eligible population has received the second dose.”

“Today we have 18,10,083 isolation beds, 4,94,314 O2 supported beds, 1,39,300 ICU beds, 24,057 pediatric ICU beds and 64,796 pediatric non-ICU beds available nationally,” he added, ANI reported.

The Health Secretary further said that there was a 10 fold increase in oxygen demand from the first wave to the second wave.

“Thus, 18,800 metric tonnes of medical oxygen per day have been arranged for. The cause for concern is 11 states where vaccination coverage is less than the national average,” he added.

Commenting on Covid vaccine booster shots, the Health Secretary said: “Deliberations are underway, we are reviewing scientific data to formulate a policy.”

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