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'Omicron' could be a wake-up call for India to adopt Covid appropriate behaviour Omicron

'Omicron' could be a wake-up call for India to adopt Covid appropriate behaviour

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 28 Nov 2021, 12:07 am

New Delhi/IBNS: The detection of new Covid-19 variant may act as a "wake-up call" for Covid appropriate behavior in India, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, told NDTV.

Asserting the importance of wearing masks, she said masks have been called "vaccines in your pocket" and have been found highly effective in averting the infection, especially in indoor settings.

She suggested that fully vaccinating all adults, avoiding mass gatherings, wider genome sequencing, and closely monitoring any unusual uptick in cases are some other important by the scientist on fighting 'Omicron'.

"We need a science-based strategy to battle 'Omicron,'" she said.

She underscored that this variant can be more transmissible than Delta though only more studies will confirm if it can cause more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other strains.

"We need more studies to pinpoint the new variant's characteristics," Swaminathan said about comparisons with other Covid variants.

The World Health Organisation has already classified it as a variant of concern.

Swaminathan said vaccination continues to remain a priority and public health measures must remain in place while pointing out vaccine equity is yet to be achieved.

Genome sequencing - the process of finding out the genetic makeup of an organism - will remain important in the fight against Covid, she said.

On travel restrictions, she said "Travel bans should be temporary and reviewed often," adding that a risk-based approach is better.