Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state government’s Covid task force, said,“There are too many unknowns with the Omicron variant at the moment. We shouldn’t panic, but maintain a vigil. We have to study if Omicron in the next few weeks displaces the Delta variant (which caused the second wave in India) as the dominant variant in circulation.”
He said the next six to eight weeks are crucial to see how the Omicron variant behaves in India, which has seen a wide exposure to the Delta variant.
“Most Omicron cases are related to travel. We have to study clusters of cases in countries other than South Africa that may have developed after the first travel-related case. It will help us prepare,” added Dr Joshi.
Another task force member, Dr Rahul Pandit, said that it has to be back to the basics of tracing, testing and treating. “As we have seen previously, cases take a month or two to rise after a new variant is found to be in circulation,” he said.
BMC additional commissioner Suresh Kakani said that there is no cause for panic in Mumbai at the moment. “We have adequate medical infrastructure needed to handle any increase in cases we may see,” he said.
Kalyan Dombivli Municpal Corporation Commissioner Dr Vijay Suryawanshi said people should compulsorily observe safety measures of social distancing and wearing a face mask outside home. “I have asked hotel associations and commercial establishments and unions to adhere all safety norms of wearing masks. Our civic teams will start fining those who fail to wear masks and shopkeepers and other establishments who will not follow Covid safety guidelines,” he added.
(Inputs by Pradeep Gupta)