‘Mutated version of Omicron is behind spike in cases’, health system on alert, says govt


Amid a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in India, Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday said that currently a mutated variant of the Omicron sub-variant is spreading in the country and the health authorities are on alert.

The health minister added that vaccines used by India have been found effective against all Covid-19 variants found till now.

“Currently, in the country, a variant of Covid-19 that is circulating is a mutated version of the Omicron sub-variant. We need to remain alert but there is no need to worry. Each new variant is isolated and it is tested whether our vaccines are effective against it or not. Our vaccines have been found effective against all Covid-19 variants found till now,” Mandaviya said in the Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh.

Spike in Covid-19 cases:

The comment from the Union Health Minister came at a time when India has reported 1,509 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours with a daily positivity rate of 1.33%. The Union government on Saturday directed all the states and union territories to accelerate the pace of Covid-19 testing as a declining trend has been noticed in some states.

“ln, the past several weeks, in some states Covid-19 testing has declined & the current testing levels are insufficient as compared to the standards prescribed by WHO i.e., 140 tests/million. Testing at the level of districts and blocks also varies, with some states heavily relying on the less sensitive rapid antigen tests. Hence, it is critical to maintaining optimum testing for Covid-19, equitably distributed with suitable modifications to address the emergence of a new cluster of Covid cases across the states. This is especially important to identify any emerging hotspots & take pre-emptive steps to curb virus transmission,” a joint advisory issued by the Union Health Minister and Indian Council of Medical Research said.

Most of the Covid-19 cases in the country are currently reported from a few states like Kerala (26.4%), Maharashtra (21.7%), Gujarat (13.9%), Karnataka (8.6%) and Tamil Nadu (6.3%), the health ministry said.

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