Omicron becomes dominant strain in cities

The centre’s Covid research body INSACOG says BA.2 lineage, an infectious sub-variant of Omicron, has been detected in a considerable fraction in India, reports Asian Lite News

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is in the community transmission stage in the country and has become dominant in several metros where new cases have been spiking exponentially, INSACOG said in its latest bulletin.

Short for Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, INSACOG checks variations in coronavirus across the nation to help understand how it spreads and evolves, and to suggest the best possible public health response.

The centre’s Covid research body also said BA.2 lineage, an infectious sub-variant of Omicron, has been detected in a considerable fraction in India.

While most Omicron cases so far have been asymptomatic or mild, hospitalisations and ICU cases have increased in the current wave and the threat level remains unchanged, INSACOG said in its January 10 bulletin that was released on Sunday.

“Omicron is now in community transmission in India and has become dominant in multiple metros, where new cases have been rising exponentially. BA.2 lineage is in a substantial fraction in India and S gene dropout based screening is thus likely to give high false negatives,” it said.

S-gene drop-out is a genetic variation like that of Omicron.

“The recently reported B.1.640.2 lineage is being monitored. There is no evidence of rapid spread and while it has features of immune escape, it is currently not a variant of concern. So far, no case has been detected in India,” the INSACOG said.

The INSACOG, in its bulletin of January 3 which was also released on Sunday, also said Omicron is now in community transmission in India and has become dominant in Delhi and Mumbai where new cases have been rising rapidly.

“Further spread of Omicron in India is now expected to be through internal transmission, not foreign travellers, and a revised sampling and sequencing strategy of INSACOG is being worked out to address genomic surveillance objectives in the wake of dynamic changing scenario of virus infection,” the INSACOG said.

“Covid appropriate behaviour and vaccination are main shields against all form mutations of SARSCoV-2 virus,” it said.

The INSACOG, under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, reports genomic surveillance of SARS CoV -2 across the country through sequencing of samples from sentinel sites and also detailed state-wise district analysis for some states.

A total of 1,50,710 samples have been sequenced and 1, 27,697 samples have been analysed so far by INSACOG.

India records 3.33 lakh fresh Covid cases

India reported 3,33,533 fresh Covid cases and 525 deaths in the last 24 hours, said the Union ministry of health and family welfare on Sunday.

With the addition of new deaths, the toll has reached 4,89,409.

The active caseload has jumped at 21,87,205 which constitute 5.57 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.

The recovery of 2,59,168 patients in the last 24 hours has increased the cumulative tally to 3,65,60,650. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 93.18 per cent.

Also in the same period, a total of 18,75,533 tests were conducted across the country. India has so far conducted over 71.55 crore cumulative tests.

Meanwhile, the weekly positivity rate has climbed to 16.87 per cent while daily positivity rate stands at 17.78 per cent.

With the administration of over 71 lakh vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s Covid inoculation coverage has reached 161.92 crore as of Sunday morning.

More than 13.32 crore balance and unutilised Covid vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered, according to the health ministry as of Sunday morning.

Toll highest in Delhi since June 2021

Delhi reported 11,486 fresh Covid cases in the last 24 hours, taking the national capitals overall Covid tally to 17,82,514, the health bulletin issued on Saturday said.

In the same time period, 45 persons succumbed to the virus in Delhi, the highest since June 5 last year when it had reported 68 Covid deaths. The fresh Covid fatalities have pushed the national capital’s death toll to 25,586 so far.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s positivity rate came down to 16.36 per cent with its active caseload dropping to 58,593, as per the Delhi health department. The capital’s recovery rate presently stands at 95.27 per cent.

With 14,802 patients recovering from the disease in the last 24 hours, the total number of recoveries has gone up to 16,98,335 so far. A total of 48,356 Covid patients are being treated in home isolation at present.

However, the number of Covid containment zones has risen to 43,457 in the city.

Meanwhile, a total of 70,226 tests — 56,551 RT-PCR and 13,675 Rapid Antigen — were conducted in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 3,44,01,748.

Out of the 75,837 Covid vaccine doses administered in the last 24 hours, 37,531 were first doses, 27,440 were second doses, and 10,866 were precautionary doses.

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