The Omicron variant is a variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.It was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 Nov. 2021
Omicron: news,symptoms, uk,cases in India,deaths,cases
The variant has an unusually large number of mutations, several of which are novel and a significant number of which affect the spike protein targeted by most COVID-19 vaccines at the time of discovering the Omicron variant.
The World Health Organization on Friday labeled a new heavily mutated strain of Covid-19 a variant of concern.
“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning,” the WHO said in a statement released Friday. “Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs.”
The variant, first known as B.1.1.529 and now named omicron, has been detected in small numbers in South Africa, WHO officials said.
However, the number of omicron cases “appears to be increasing” in almost all of South Africa’s provinces, the WHO reported on Friday. The omicron variant has since been found in the U.K., Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong.
No unusual symptoms have yet been associated with the variant as of 26 November 2021, and, as with other variants, some individuals are asymptomatic.
Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, said she had first encountered the variant in patients who had fatigue, aches and pains, but no cough or change in sense of smell or taste.
Fergus Walsh wrote, “South Africa has a young population and it is encouraging that doctors there are reporting that Omicron is causing mild symptoms with no increase in hospital admissions. But we need to see what happens when the variant moves into older age groups who are the most vulnerable to Covid.”
However, in an update on the variant, the World Health Organization stated “Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa”, even if it has not been determined that this is attributed to this specific variant.
Mr Johnson said people needed to recognise “the sheer pace at which [Omicron] accelerates through the population” and that they should set aside the idea that Omicron was a milder variant.
The prime minister tweeted that more than half a million people had booked their booster jab on Monday, which he described as an “incredible feat”.
The UK recorded 54,661 new coronavirus cases on Monday, as well as 38 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
There are 4,713 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant but Mr Javid said the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) estimated the current number of daily infections was around 200,000.
Omicron has risen to more than 44% of cases in London and is expected to become the dominant variant in the city in the next 48 hours, he said.
The 200,000 figure for Omicron infections is based upon UKHSA modelling. BBC medical editor Fergus Walsh said with Omicron doubling every two to three days, it could go from a small to a huge number very quickly.
Cases in India
Delhi on Tuesday reported four new Omicron cases, taking the tally in the national capital to six. Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said that of the six cases, one has been discharged from hospital. Officials said that all six are stable and have mild to moderate symptoms.
The other states to have reported the new Covid-19 variant are :
- Maharashtra (20)
- Gujarat (4)
- Rajasthan (9)
- Karnataka (3)
- Kerala (1)
- Andhra Pradesh (1)
- Union Territory of Chandigarh (1)
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha members today cautioned the Modi government on the challenges posed by the rising cases of Omicron variant, and asked it to spell out plans for administering booster dose of vaccination. Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said India has already reported over 40 cases of Omicron variant and the government should begin preparations of every kind to deal with the challenge.
The Omicron variant has been detected in 38 countries but no deaths have yet been reported, the WHO said on Friday, as authorities worldwide rushed to stem the heavily mutated COVID-19 strain’s spread amid warnings that it could damage the global economic recovery.
The U.S. and Australia became the latest countries to confirm locally transmitted cases of the variant.
The WHO has warned it could take weeks to determine how infectious the variant is, whether it causes more severe illness and how effective treatments and vaccines are against it.
Africa recorded more than 107 000 cases in the week ending on 5 December, up from around 55 000. Five countries accounted for 86% of the cases reported over the past week and all the sub-regions in the continent – up from one the previous week – reported increases in new cases. Southern Africa recorded the highest increase with a 140% hike mainly driven by an uptick in South Africa.
Research is being intensified to determine whether Omicron is fuelling the surge in cases seen in Africa. Emerging data from South Africa indicates that Omicron may cause less severe illness.
Data which looked at hospitalizations across South Africa between 14 November and 4 December found that ICU occupancy was only 6.3 % – which is very low compared with the same period when the country was facing the peak linked to the Delta variant in July. Data from the same two-week period from one of the health districts most impacted by Omicron found that out of more than 1200 admissions, 98 were receiving supplemental oxygen and only four were on ventilation.
This is very preliminary data with a small sample size and most of the people admitted to the health facilities were under the age of 40. As the clinical profile of patients changes, the impact of Omicron may change.