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Coronavirus News Updates: Delhi to Go for ‘Test-Treat’ Plan Amid Omicron Scare; One Sample in K’taka Not Delta

Coronavirus News Updates: Now designated Omicron by the World Health Organization, the variant was detected and announced by South Africa's National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Nov 25.

News18.com | November 29, 2021, 22:52 IST
Omicron covid variant

Coronavirus News Updates: A senior government official said on Monday that no case of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus has been detected in India yet. “No case of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus has been detected in India yet and Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia INSACOG is closely monitoring the situation and expediting the results of genomic analysis of positive samples of international Read More

Nov 29, 2021 22:17 IST

US President Joe Biden to Speak on Omicron Variant, Says White House

Nov 29, 2021 21:34 IST

Scotland Detects 6 Cases of Omicron COVID-19 Variant; UK Total Rises to 11

Six cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant have been identified in Scotland, taking the UK’s total to 11 following three cases in England last week and two in London on Monday. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the latest two cases found in Camden and Wandsworth areas of London have links to travel in southern Africa.

Earlier on Monday, the Scottish government said four cases have been found in Lanarkshire and two in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. While all of England’s detected cases have a travel link with southern Africa, some of the people identified in Scotland have no travel history and may have caught the potentially highly transmissible variant in the community.

Nov 29, 2021 21:13 IST

Amid Omicron Scare, Punjab Govt Strict Monitoring of Overseas Passengers Landing at State Airports

Amid a worldwide scare against the latest coronavirus variant Omicron, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister O P Soni on Monday ordered strict monitoring of passengers landing at state airports from abroad. The state Health Department has also decided to enhance the Covid testing, surveillance and genome sequencing facilities in the state, said officials here.

The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or Omicron, first detected in South Africa last week, was designated by the World Health Organisation as a ‘variant of concern’, the health body’s top category for worrying coronavirus variants. Punjab deputy CM Soni on Monday reviewed the preparations for tackling the third possible wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nov 29, 2021 21:02 IST

As Panic Spreads Over New Covid-19 Variant, A Look at All Countries That Have Detected Omicron Cases

The discovery of new Covid-19 variant Omicron, which has over 50 spike mutations, has left the global leaders and scientists worried. Experts have warned that the new variant has a combination of mutations that can possibly cause the virus to evade immunity. The new coronavirus variant spread around the world on Monday, with new cases found in several countries even as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off. Read the full story here.

Nov 29, 2021 21:01 IST

'Omicron' Covid Variant: Need Well Thought Out Plan for Schools Instead of Prolonged Closures, Say Experts

With the new variant of COVID-19 sparking concerns and uncertainty, health and education experts have called for a well thought of plan for schools rather than prolonged closures again. The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or Omicron, first detected in South Africa last week, was designated by the World Health Organisation as a ‘variant of concern’, the health body’s top category for worrying coronavirus variants.

Schools across the country were closed in March last year ahead of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Several states have partially reopened schools for different classes after prolonged closures. Seema Kaur, Principal, Pacific World School said just when the schools had started to settle in, the looming threat from the new virus has caused uncertainty and anxiety.

Nov 29, 2021 20:37 IST

Covid Updates: No 'Omicron' Variant Case Detected in Tami Nadu So Far, Says Govt

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday said no case of the latest variant of coronavirus, ‘Omicron’, has been detected in the state so far and insisted that surveillance has been stepped up across the airports to prevent its spread here. On Monday, the state logged 730 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths.

The cumulative positives climbed to 27,26,197 while the nine new fatalities pushed the overall toll to 36,472, according to a government bulletin here. Recoveries outnumbered new cases, with 767 people being cured of the virus during this period, with the total recoveries mounting to 26,81,434.

Nov 29, 2021 20:19 IST

SC Directs States to Inform if Wide Publicity Given on Ex-gratia Compensation for COVID Deaths

The Supreme Court on Monday expressed concern over the low number of claims for ex-gratia compensation for COVID-19 deaths and directed the state governments to inform if wide publicity has been given concerning the scheme for compensation. A bench of Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna directed the chief secretaries of all the states to submit compliance reports on the number of deaths recorded, claim forms received so far, and the number of persons to whom the amount of compensation has been disbursed.

The top court also directed them to apprise if any Grievance Redressal Committee in each district has been constituted or not and whether any wide publicity has been given concerning the scheme for compensation and any exclusive online portal to invite applications and for disbursal of the amount of compensation has been created or not.

Nov 29, 2021 20:18 IST

16 Fresh Coronavirus Cases in Haryana

Haryana reported no Covid-related death, even though it added 16 new infections on Monday, pushing the case count to 7,71,692, according to an official bulletin. The death toll remained unchanged at 10,054. Among the districts, eight cases were reported from Gurugram, the health department’s daily bulletin said. The number of active cases in the state stands at 142, while the overall recoveries were 7,61,473. Haryana has a COVID-19 recovery rate of 98.68 per cent, the bulletin said.

Nov 29, 2021 19:44 IST

Sputnik V, Sputnik Light Will 'Neutralise Omicron'; Has 'Highest Efficacy vs Other Mutations': Russia

Russia on Monday said that its Sputnik V covid-19 vaccine will “neutralise” the new heavily mutated ‘Omicron’ variant of the virus as major pharmacies rush to test their jabs for it. The Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, best known internationally for developing the earliest vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, said that it believes that Sputnik V has “highest efficacy vs other mutations”Read the full story here.

Nov 29, 2021 19:39 IST

Covid-19: Chandigarh Admin Dismisses Rumours Over Omicron' Variant, Says No Case Yet

A 39-year-old Chandigarh resident who returned from South Africa has been home quarantined even as the authorities here on Monday dismissed as rumours anyone having tested positive for the new Covid variant Omicron. A 39-year-old male resident of Sector 36 had returned from South Africa on November 21. He was RT-PCR negative on his arrival at the airport. He was quarantined at home on his arrival in Chandigarh, an official statement said here.

It further said another RT-PCR test has been conducted on November 29. The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or Omicron, first detected in South Africa last week, was designated by the World Health Organisation as a variant of concern, the health body’s top category for worrying coronavirus variants.

Nov 29, 2021 19:29 IST

Sputnik V, Sputnik Light Will 'Neutralise Omicron'; Have 'Highest Efficacy vs Other Mutations': Russia

Nov 29, 2021 19:02 IST

As Vaccine Nationalism Puts the World at Risk With Omicron Threat, Is It End of the Road for First World Superiority?

“The relationship between the biggest powers has never been as dysfunctional. Covid-19 is showing dramatically, either we join (together)…or we can be defeated.” These resounding words from UN Secretary General António Guterres ring true two years since the pandemic hit the world. Wave upon wave of the Covid-19 infection, with emerging mutations (the latest being Omicron) threatening the world may still not have shaken its out of its old post-colonial orders as historic divisions shine brighter on an issue of key importance – coronavirus vaccines. Read the full story here.

Nov 29, 2021 18:55 IST

SC Concerned at Low Covid Ex-gratia Claims, Seeks Wider Publicity, Simpler Process

The Supreme Court on Monday expressed concern at state governments grappling with various issues in connection with Rs 50,000 ex-gratia distribution to next of kin of Covid victims. The Kerala government could not identify next of kin of Covid victims, many state governments have registered low numbers of claims for Covid compensation, and Maharashtra government has not provided information on claims forms received.

Nov 29, 2021 18:45 IST

Omicron: Kerala Orders 7 Days Quarantine for Arrivals from High-risk Countries

In wake of detection of new Covid variant Omicron in South Africa, Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Monday said so far, things are under control, but utmost caution has to be maintained and as a precautionary measure, all those arriving from high-risk countries will have to undergo seven days quarantine. “On the 8th day, an RT-PCR test will have be done and if negative, they will have to continue under self imposed observation,” she said.

Nov 29, 2021 18:39 IST

Lucknow DM Issues Protocols for Passengers Arriving at Lucknow Airport

Nov 29, 2021 18:31 IST

Is Omicron More Dangerous than Delta, Will Vaccines Work? India’s Leading Expert on Covid-19 Answers

The SARS-CoV-2 variants have their standard scientific names and classifications based on Pango (Phylogenetic Assignment of Named Global Outbreak) lineage and Nextstrain clade. However, to ensure that the countries where these variants are first reported are not unduly stigmatised and for the ease of reference by the general public, May 2021 onwards, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has started providing labels (or popular names) to SARS-CoV-2 variants based on Greek alphabets. In naming the new variant B.1.1.529, two Greek letters have been skipped. ‘Nu’ was not used as it was considered that people may confuse it with ‘New’. The next letter ‘Xi’ was not used as it could have been associated with a specific country. It was named after the next alphabet—Omicron. Read the full story here.

Nov 29, 2021 18:23 IST

'Covid Report a Bit Diiferent'

Refusing to divulge the identity of the man, the minister said his COVID report shows that he has contracted a different variant of the novel coronavirus. “There is a 63-year-old man whose name I should not disclose. His report is a bit different. It appears different from the delta variant. We will discuss with the ICMR officials and will let people know by the evening what it is,” the minister said.

The minister said he would chair a marathon meeting on Tuesday with the officers of his department, from the Principal Secretary to the Primary Health Centre level doctors, regarding the steps to be taken. He added that the members of the Technical Advisory Committee on COVID-19 have also been invited for the meeting.

Nov 29, 2021 18:20 IST

Sample of One Person Who Came from South Africa is Different from Delta, Says K'taka Minister

Amid the Omicron variant of COVID-19 creating concern globally, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Monday said the sample of one of the two persons who arrived in Bengaluru recently from South Africa is ‘different from the Delta variant’. The minister said he was not supposed to say anything officially as he was still in touch with the union health ministry and the Indian Council for Medical Research officials.

“There is a delta variant for the past nine months only, but you are saying that one of the samples is Omicron. I cannot say aboutit officially. I am in touch with the ICMR and central government officials,” Sudhakar told reporters here. The sample has been sent to ICMR, he said.

Nov 29, 2021 17:49 IST

New Covid Variant: Need Well Thought Out Plan for Schools Instead of Prolonged Closures, Say Experts

With the new variant of COVID-19 sparking concerns and uncertainty, health and education experts have called for a well thought of plan for schools rather than prolonged closures again. The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or Omicron, first detected in South Africa last week, was designated by the World Health Organisation as a ‘variant of concern’, the health body’s top category for worrying coronavirus variants.

Schools across the country were closed in March last year ahead of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Several states have partially reopened schools for different classes after prolonged closures. Seema Kaur, Principal, Pacific World School said just when the schools had started to settle in, the looming threat from the new virus has caused uncertainty and anxiety.

Nov 29, 2021 17:38 IST

Centre Yesterday Issued Stricter Guideline for Those Travelling from or through 'At-Risk' Countries

Amid the mounting concerns over the potentially more contagious coronavirus variant “Omicron’ spreading to many countries, the Centre on Sunday introduced stricter guidelines for people travelling from or transiting through ‘at-risk’ countries and issued a slew of directions to the states for ramping up testing-surveillance measures and health facilities.

Nov 29, 2021 06:59 IST

Canada Confirms First Omicron Cases

travellers,” he said.

The Covid-19 sample of a person who came from South Africa in Karnataka has been sent for Omicron testing to ICMR after slight variations were found in their genome, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Monday. The result is awaited by the evening, he said.

Meanwhile, India on Monday issued revised guidelines for international travellers in view of Omicron variant COVID-19. According to the guidelines, all travellers (irrespective of vaccination status) coming to India from ‘at-risk’ countries will have to mandatorily undergo COVID-19 testing at airport on arrival.

In other news, Canada said Sunday it has detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of Covid, in two people who had traveled recently to Nigeria.

Both patients are in isolation while public health authorities trace their possible contacts, said federal and Ontario provincial officials.

“I was informed today by the Public Health Agency of Canada that testing and monitoring of Covid-19 cases has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of concern in Ontario,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement.

“As the monitoring and testing continues,” he added, “it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada.”

The government of Ontario confirmed that the two cases are in the capital Ottawa.

The World Health Organization has listed Omicron as a “variant of concern” and countries around the world are now restricting travel from southern Africa, where the new strain was first detected, and taking other new precautions.

The WHO says it could take several weeks to know if there are significant changes in transmissibility, severity or implications for Covid vaccines, tests and treatments.

On Friday, Canada banned travel from seven African countries over concerns about the spread of the Omicron strain. Nigeria was not one of them.

Meanwhile, a South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect a different coronavirus strain among patients said on Sunday that symptoms of the Omicron variant were so far mild and could be treated at home.

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of South African Medical Association, told Reuters that on Nov. 18 she noticed seven patients at her clinic who had symptoms different from the dominant Delta variant, albeit “very mild”.

Now designated Omicron by the World Health Organization, the variant was detected and announced by South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Nov. 25 from samples taken from a laboratory from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16.

Coetzee said a patient on Nov. 18 reported at her clinic being “extremely fatigued” for two days with body aches and headache.

“Symptoms at that stage was very much related to normal viral infection. And because we haven’t seen COVID-19 for the past eight to 10 weeks, we decided to test,” she said, adding that the patient and his family turned out to be positive.

On the same day, more patients came in with similar symptoms, which was when she realised there was “something else going on.” Since then, she’s seen two to three patients a day.

“We have seen a lot of Delta patients during the third wave. And this doesn’t fit in the clinical picture,” she said, adding she alerted NICD on the same day with the clinical results.

“Most of them are seeing very, very mild symptoms and none of them so far have admitted patients to surgeries. We have been able to treat these patients conservatively at home,” she said.

Coetzee, who is also on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, said unlike the Delta so far patients have not reported loss of smell or taste and there has been no major drop in oxygen levels with the new variant.

Her experience so far has been that the variant is affecting people who are 40 or younger. Almost half of the patients with Omicron symptoms that she treated were not vaccinated.

“The most predominant clinical complaint is severe fatigue for one or two days. With them, the headache and the body aches and pain.”

The news of the new variant emerging from South Africa prompted a swift reaction from several countries, including Britain, which on Friday imposed a travel ban on several southern African countries with immediate effect, a decision South Africa has strongly contested.

Since Friday, many countries have also banned air travel to and from South Africa, including the United States, other European countries, and some Asian nations.

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