Omicron, the latest variant of COVID-19, is now a subject of global concern. Even though its origin is unknown, the variant was first reported in South Africa. Subsequently, the Omicron variant has been detected in Australia, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Britain, Israel, Hong Kong, Botswana, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has labelled it as the fifth variant of concern and it is said to possess ‘very high’ risk.
According to Dr Angelique, head of South African Medical Association, the variant has affected young people mostly, leaving them exhausted with body aches and soreness.
Omicron is said to have over 30 mutations. Reinfection risk is also high, as per the early evidence provided by the WHO.
The variant is not yet reported in India. The central government and respective state governments are taking adequate measures, including rigorous testing as well as screening to spot the variant.
“I won’t be surprised if there is detection in India. It’s just a matter of time, given the high transmissibility this variant comes with,” said Dr Samiran Panda, Head of Epidemiology at the ICMR to NDTV.
Due to a high number of mutations and serious public health implications of the variant, states and union territories have begun tightening restrictions on travellers.