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'No Omicron In India Yet, Steps Taken To Prevent Strain's Entry,' Assures Health Minister

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya briefs Rajya Sabha on Omicron preparedness, saying, "India is ready to tackle the latest COVID-19 variant."

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Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, on November 30, while briefing Rajya Sabha during Question Hour stated that no case of COVID-19 variant Omicron has been reported in the country as yet. Further, he vouched for the country's preparedness and assured that the medical infrastructure is 'ready to tackle the highly transmissible variant. 

He said, "Today, we do not have any case of Omicron and precautions to prevent the strain from entering India is being taken." Further, he urged the general public to adhere to COVID appropriate behaviour and stated that 70 lakhs to 80 lakhs doses of Coronavirus vaccines are being administered, per day. "You can protect yourself against COVID-19 only by being vigil," he added.

Omicron detected in over 10 countries

Amid the Omicron scare, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan will hold a key meeting with the states on the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on November 30. In the meeting, the Health Secretary will review the situation prevailing across states and will further discuss actions to be taken towards preventing the new variant from spreading in the country. The meeting comes after several states raised concern over continuing with the functioning of international flights.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has now called for a review meeting with states. The Health Secretary is expected to discuss the rising concern over the new variant of the Coronavirus. Earlier on Monday, the Centre confirmed that there is no reason to panic.

Omicron a 'variant of concern'

South African scientists had alerted WHO regarding the new B.1.1.529 variant on November 24 and the UN health agency named it 'Omicron' on November 26 and called it as a "variant of concern". A lot of nations are imposing restrictions, with governments changing their regulations at a moment's notice. African nations have come on the radar, with the rest of the world suspending flights or closing its borders to the selected 7 to 9 nations on the continent.

Later, South Africa denounced the travel bans that countries imposed and said that it was being "punished" for detecting the Omicron strain. Even WHO called on nations to not "penalise" the country for detecting the new strain which drove a steep rise in COVID cases. It has to be noted that the Omicron strain has already been detected in over 10 countries. 

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