The Omicron variant of coronavirus is not a common cold and should not be underestimated, NITI Aayog's Member, Health, Dr V.K. Paul said on Wednesday, noting it is the reseaon behind the collapse of health infrastructure in several countries.
"Omicron is not a common cold, it is society's responsibility to slow it down with vaccination and masks," he said. If we are seeing less hospitalisation, it is because of mass vaccination, he added.
"Vaccination is a critical pillar of India's Covid-19 response. Let's Mask Up and get vaccinated, whoever is due. It's fact that the vaccines are helpful to an extent," he said.
Dr Paul also said that the government is concerned about 'overuse and misuse' of drugs in home isolation. "There should be a rational approach for medicine use. We are concerned about the overuse & misuse of drugs. Don't overuse, it will have aftermath. Have warm water, do gargles in home care," he underlined.
About the new ICMR guidelines on Covid testing, Indian Council of Medical Research Director General, Dr Balram Bhargava, said that all symptomatic individuals need to be tested including all high-risk case contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases. Asymptomatic cases are not required to get tested unless they are at high risk.
Meanwhile, Joint Secretary, Health, Lav Agarwal, said that a sharp rise in Covid infections has been noted with the case positivity climbing to 11.05 per cent on Wednesday from 1.1 per cent on December 30.
Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Gujarat have emerged as states of concern, he said.
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