Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Omicron cases fast spreading in India: Are we prepared for a surge?

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India on December 18 reported 7, 145 new cases of Covid-19, making the total tally of active caseload reach 84,565, which is the lowest in 569 days. Even though the number seems considerably low, concerns are growing over the new variant of concern- Omicron. With more than 100 confirmed cases of Omicron in India, the Union health ministry has issued advisories to avoid unnecessary travel and mass gatherings.

Alarm bells have rung in India as UK reports over 93,000 Covid cases a day, with Omicron fuelling the surge of infections. With a third consecutive daily record of over 90K cases a day, Britain is now rushing to inoculate as many people as possible to avert the damage.

Under pressure to control the surge, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has said that the aim of the mass vaccination drive is to make sure that UK does not only have the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe but also manages to avert some of the more damaging consequences of Omicron.

Back home in India, Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul, speaking at a press conference on Friday, expressed concern over the surge of Covid-19 infection in UK and said, “If we look at the scale of spread in the UK and if there is a similar outbreak in India, then given our population, there will be 14 lakh cases every day.” He also said that sequencing of every sample is not possible as genome sequencing is a surveillance and pandemic assessment and tracking tool, not a diagnostic tool as of now.

Considering all the facets, should India also be rushing to inoculate as many persons as possible before the situation gets out of control? What should be India’s strategy to avoid a surge like UK in India? And Are we prepared to deal with a surge like that?

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