Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said people do not need to panic about Omicron as the severity of the coronavirus variant is low.
Breifing mediapersons, Tope said, "There is a total of 10 Omicron cases in Maharashtra till today. About 65 swabs have been sent for genome sequencing, their reports are awaited. Screenings are being conducted at International airports. The Omicron variant is spread over 54 countries so far. Transmissibility is higher. But, the severity or virulence is low. So we do not need to panic."
Asked about the State's strategy to counter the spread, the Health Minister said, "We are working with the 3T Principle - tracking, tracing and testing. For genome sequence, we have currently three labs. We will expand the facility further in Nagpur and Aurangabad."
Meanwhile, India reported nearly two dozen Omicron cases so far. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Wednesday asked all the States to submit all the samples of positive cases of international travellers and their contacts as well as from emerging hotspots.
A new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25.
As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year. On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'. The WHO has classified Omicron as a 'variant of concern'.
Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.
The new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 23 countries and their number is expected to rise, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said.
India has also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country, including post-arrival testing for infection. (ANI)