After two cases of the new Omicron variant were confirmed in Karnataka on Thursday, state health minister K Sudhakar said that Chief Minister Basavaraja S Bommai will announce fresh Covid-19 guidelines soon and is set to hold a meeting with the union health minister on Friday. Warning against panic and rumours, Sudhakar said big conventions, indoor gatherings should be restricted and everyone should maintain all precautions against Covid-19. Read More
Almost two years into the pandemic, Black and other ethnic minority people in Britain are still dying with the coronavirus at higher rates than white residents, likely because of lower vaccination rates, a government-commissioned report said Friday.
The Central Drugs Standard Organisation (CDSO) has approved the shelf life of COVID-19 vaccines Covaxin to 12 months, Covishield to nine months, and ZyCoV-D to six months from the date of manufacture, the Lok Sabha was informed on Friday. Regarding administration of booster doses, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) and the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) are deliberating and considering scientific evidences related to this aspect.
With the Karnataka capital on alert after accounting for the first two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in the country, state Revenue Minister R. Ashok said that the missing 10 South African nationals from Bengaluru will be tracked by Friday midnight.
After the first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, India is all set to roll out its second made-in-India vaccine. ZyCov-D is a needle-free vaccine, unique in nature due to the fact that it has been developed on a plasmid DNA platform. The vaccine will first be administered to adults, and then be rolled out for children aged between 12 and 17. It is also the first vaccine for adolescents in India.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday informed Parliament that RTPCR tests of 16,000 passengers from ‘at-risk’ countries have been conducted so far, of whom 18 have tested positive for COVID-19. He also said that genome sequencing for Omicron detection is underway for such passengers.
State revenue minister R Ashok said they are also keeping ready oxygen beds and ICU beds that were used during the second wave earlier this year. This apart, networks of oxygen supply are also being readied. Ashok said they’re setting up a control room again and would hire the required staff for it.
Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan reiterates measures that Indian states should follow in the light of Omicron detection in the country. In a letter addressed to Chief Secretary, and sent to ACS/Principal Secretaries/Secretaries (Health) of all the States/UTs, Bhushan writes that current evidence, which is still evolving, suggests increased transmissibility of this VOC (Variant of Concern) and there is a need to actively follow-up. “We must, therefore, be extra vigilant in enforcing public health measures to contain its spread,” writes Bhushan.
As the world stares at renewed uncertainty posed by Omicron variant of the virus causing Covid-19, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain says the national capital is taking all steps possible to prevent the variant from entering the general population in the first place.
Covid outbreaks in various districts of Karnataka, especially among the nursing students who returned from Kerala, have turned to be a big cause of concern for the Karnataka Health Department. As many as nine students of Kodagu Vidyala have tested positive for Covid-19 in Madikeri of Kodagu district. The authorities have taken steps to conduct tests on all students from Class 6 to 10. The results of four more students are expected to come on Friday. The outbreak has caused panic among the people as it is the bordering district of Kerala state where the infection rate is still high.
After India joined a growing list of countries with coronavirus cases of the Omicron variant, the Union Health Ministry has issued a list of frequently answered questions (FAQ) on the new variant. Designated a “highly transmissible variant of concern” by the WHO, Omicron has been detected in two samples collected in Karnataka. Read the full story here.
Top Indian genome scientists have recommended a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines for those above 40 years with preference to high-risk and high-exposure population. The recommendation was made in the weekly bulletin of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Sequencing Consortium (INSACOG), a network of national testing labs set up by the government to monitor genomic variations of COVID-19. Read the full story here.
South Africa is being hit by a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections driven by the Omicron variant which has been detected in seven of the country’s nine provinces, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said on Friday. Omicron, which has raised global fears https://www.reuters.com/world/us-tightens-covid-19-travel-rules-countries-race-quell-omicron-threat-2021-12-01 of a surge in infections, was first detected in southern Africa last month and has prompted governments across continents to impose travel curbs and take other measures to contain it.
The Tamil Nadu health department is readying itself for any threat in view of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron. The health department has directed the Medical colleges to set apart 150 beds in each of its hospitals to admit patients who are diagnosed with Omicron if any. The state health department has also instructed the medical colleges to provide separate entry and exit doors for the exclusive wards to be set up to treat Omicron patients if cases are diagnosed. Read the full story here.
Six different COVID19 boosters are safe and elicit strong immune response in people who have previously received a twodose course of AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines, according to a study published in The Lancet journal. Two doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines have shown 79 per cent and 90 per cent protection, respectively, against hospitalisation and death after six months in several studies, the researchers said.
The emergence of the Omicron variant is a call to continue with the progress in vaccination and expand access to the Covid-19 shots, Dr Brian Wahl, Assistant Scientist with the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has told News18.com. Many experts, he said, believe that vaccines will remain highly effective against severe Covid-19 outcomes, including hospitalisation and death. Contending that the world hasn’t been “too late” in detecting the Omicron variant, the epidemiologist said there should be a better sense about immune evasion of the virus in the next 10-14 days. Read the full story here.
India has joined a growing list of countries where Omicron has arrived after two infections linked to the newest WHO-designated Variant of Concern (VoC) were reported in Karnataka. While the world waits for more details to emerge on how much of a worry Omicron really is, health experts, including the WHO, are stressing on the need for countries to step up on genomic surveillance to identify variants of the novel coronavirus that may display an ability to evade public and social health counter-measures. Towards that end, the Centre has urged states to ramp up testing and increase submission of samples for genomic sequencing. Here’s how it’ll help. Read the full story here.
Asia-Pacific countries should boost their healthcare capacity and fully vaccinate their people to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases fuelled by the Omicron variant, officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. First detected in southern Africa last month and dubbed a “variant of concern” by the WHO, scientists are still gathering data to establish how contagious Omicron is, and the severity of the illness it causes.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will be chairing a meeting with experts, senior Ministers and officials on Friday in the wake of two cases of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus detected in the state, during which a new guidelines aimed at controlling its spread is likely to be formulated. The meeting is scheduled for Friday afternoon, after the Chief Minister returns from his Delhi trip.
Health officials have confirmed at least five cases of the omicron coronavirus variant in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday evening. A 67-year-old woman from Suffolk County, two Queens residents, a Brooklyn resident and a fifth person believed to be a visitor to the state tested positive. Their vaccination statuses weren’t immediately clear, but the woman from Suffolk County had received at least one dose, Hochul said.
Thane district in Maharashtra reported 77 new coronavirus positive cases, which took its infection tally to 5,69,553, while the death of one patient raised the fatality figure to 11,585, an official said on Friday. These cases and death were reported on Thursday, he said. Thane’s current COVID-19 mortality rate is 2.03 per cent. In neighbouring Palghar district, the caseload has gone up to 1,38,676, while the death toll is 3,300, another official said.
“An emergency meeting has been convened tomorrow with experts and senior officers. The meeting would discuss the measures to prevent the spread of new variant of Covid and the strategies to control it. The issue would be discussed with experts of the union government as well. Action would be taken to formulate new guidelines,” Bommai was quoted as saying in a statement by his office, late on Thursday.
Out of the two cases of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus that have been detected in the State, one 66-year old is a South African national who had left the country after testing negative, while the other is a local person — a doctor aged 46, with no travel history.
The United States reported its first case of community transmission of Omicron on Thursday and President Joe Biden prepared to lay out his strategy to fight the coronavirus over the winter as the highly contagious variant spread across the globe.
As the world scrambled to contain the spread of Omicron, health authorities in the northern U.S. state of Minnesota said the infected resident was a fully vaccinated adult male who had recently travelled to New York City.
The person told state health investigators he attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from November 19 to 21 and developed mild symptoms on November 22.