According to official sources, a meeting between Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and senior health officials about the emergence of Omicron’s new sub-variants resulted in the decision to continue masks and COVID19-appropriate behaviour across the country.
The scientists, doctors, and senior officials also advocated for increased surveillance and genome sequencing. According to official sources, Niti Aayog member VK Paul, Chairperson of COVID-19 working group NTAGI NK Arora, NTAGI officials, NEGVAC officials, and other senior health officials.
Earlier on Tuesday, Maharashtra recorded a 17.7 per cent rise in coronavirus cases compared to last week, according to a state health department bulletin.
The state has reported new Covid cases including the XBB, a new sub-variant of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has been detected in parts of India, including Kerala.
Apart from this, Maharashtra has reported cases from other sub-variants of Omicron- BA.2.3.20 and BQ.1 variant, which was detected for the first time in India on Monday from the sample of a patient in Pune.
XBB, a recombinant lineage between two Omicron sublineages BJ.1 and BA.2.75, is a fast-spreading variant, which was seen to have caused a spike across Singapore recently.
As per the Maharashtra Health Department report, the XBB has a growth advantage over BA.2.75 and evasive immune properties.
On October 17, India detected its first case of Omicron’s BQ.1 subvariant in a sample of a patient from Pune. The BQ.1 is a descendant of BA.5, which is behind the 60 per cent of COVID cases in the United States (US), as per reports.
Some health department experts predicted an increase in the coming winter season, particularly in a festive setting. BA.2.75 was reduced from 95% to 76% in Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS).
The Maharashtra health department and experts have advised people not to ignore flu-like symptoms and to seek medical attention as soon as possible. They advised practising Covid-appropriate behaviour in public places and getting vaccinated in accordance with Government of India guidelines.
According to department experts, people with comorbidities should take extra precautions when visiting public places. People suffering from influenza-like illnesses should limit their exposure to the public as much as possible.
The BF.7 is also reported in Gujarat which is confirmed by the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre. BF.7 is known as ‘Omicron spawn’ that was first detected in China and now reached the United States, the UK, Australia, and Belgium.world
Meanwhile, the Kerala government on October 17 held a high-level meeting under health minister Veena George. It said it is intensifying preventive measures in view of the new genetic variations of COVID-19 (XBB and XBB1) being reported from other parts of the world.
“Necessary instructions have been given to all the districts. The new strain is more contagious than any other strain of Covid-19 so far. Hence the resistance is strengthened. About 1.8 per cent of those infected may require hospital treatment. There is no cause for concern at present. But everyone should be careful.
Everyone should wear a mask properly for self-protection. Masks must be worn by the elderly and those with co-morbidities. The minister requested that masks be worn at the airport and in closed places,” the Kerala health department said.