Experts highlight 1 worrying factor of Omicron, warn of ‘inevitable’ third wave

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The Omicron variant of coronavirus might be less severe but the high transmissibility rate could be a worrying factor, according to health experts. The health experts in India have emphasised the need for a booster dose and Covid-appropriate behaviour to fight the spread of the Omicron variant. 

They have highlighted that keeping a close watch on the situation and announcing tough preventive measures could be critical in the fight against a possible resurgence of Covid-19.

“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,” said Dr G C Khilnani, Chairman Pulmonology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, PSRI Hospital, as quoted by ANI.

“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 comorbidities,” Khilnani added.

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Dr Sheeba Marwah, Covid-19 nodal officer, Safdarjung Hospital, said Omicron’s rate of replication, 70 times faster than its predecessor, is the cause of worry.

“Having the propensity to making even the fully vaccinated its prey, we might head toward inevitable third wave,” added Marwah.

India has detected over 100 cases of Omicron within a month of its identification by South African and Botswanan scientists. NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul cited the steep rise in infections in Britain to sound alarm bells during a media briefing on Friday. 

Paul said the population-level conversion would mean 14 lakh daily Covid cases in India.

The Union health ministry advised people to avoid non-essential travel and keep New Year celebrations low-key.

“As the Omicron variant is spreading very fast across Europe and most parts of the world, there is a need to avoid non-essential travel and mass gatherings and keep festivities low-key,” ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava said.

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