India sees rise of omicron variant cases

Report by Alisha Bhati

Noida: With Delhi and Maharashtra reporting four more and eight cases of Omicron variant respectively, the country’s total tally of those affected by the variant has gone up to 57.  Elsewhere in India, the Omicron Covid tally shows Rajasthan 17, Gujarat 4, Karnataka 3, Kerala 1, Andhra Pradesh 1, and Chandigarh 1. On Wednesday, India reported 6,984 new coronavirus cases. The Union Health Ministry stated that the number of active cases in the country declined to 87,562 while number of active coronavirus cases in the country now accounted for 0.25% of the total caseload. This was the lowest since March 2020. The national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.38%, the highest since March 2020, stated ministry sources.

Talking to reporters Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the four more cases of the new COVID-19 omicron variant reported had a travel history to foreign countries.

What is omicron variant?

Omicron variant of SARS – coV-2  is the latest of corona virus version to be designated ‘a variant of concern’ (VoC) by World Health Organization (WHO). Health authorities and experts say Omicron variant is the most heavily mutated version of coronavirus found so far. In fact director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa Prof Tulio de Oliveira has said there was an ‘unusual constellation of mutations’ and that it was ‘very different’ to other variants that have circulated.

Omicron variant origin not clear

Oliveira added that the part of the virus making first contact with human body’s cells, Omicron variant has 10 mutations compared to just two for the Delta variant that swept the world. It is not certain where Omicron variant came from, but it is thought it evolved in a single patient who was unable to beat the virus. The first sequenced omicron variant case was reported from Botswana on November 11 this year. A few days later, another sequenced case was reported from Hong Kong in a traveller from South Africa.

(Alisha is BAJMC First Year Student of Maharishi School of Journalism, MUIT Campus, Noida)

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