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Omicron: Overview, Statistics, Symptoms, Testing, Vaccination and Prevention


Overview

India has successfully administered over 125.75 crore COVID vaccine doses so far. Vaccination has become even more essential in the wake of the new variant- the Omicron variant. Though there are only a few cases in India yet, you should be proactive to deal with them better.

 

Omicron - Statistics

There were over 3.46 crore covid cases in India, and over 3.40 crore patients have recovered. Scientifically known as B.1.1.529, South Africa reported this new variant to WHO on Nov 24, and till now, it has spread over various countries, including -

  1. India 
  2. South Africa 
  3. Botswana 
  4. The Netherlands 
  5. Hong Kong 
  6. Israel 
  7. Belgium
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Germany 
  10. Australia
  11. Italy 
  12. Czechia 
  13. Denmark 
  14. Austria 
  15. Canada 
  16. Sweden 
  17. Switzerland 
  18. Spain 
  19. Portugal 
  20. Japan 
  21. Reunion (France) 
  22. Ghana 
  23. South Korea 
  24. Nigeria 
  25. Brazil 
  26. Norway 
  27. United States of America 
  28. Saudi Arabia 
  29. Ireland 
  30. The United Arab Emirates, etc.

 

Symptoms of Omicron

Certain cases reflect that the symptoms of the Omicron variant are different from the delta variant. According to the World Health Organization, the key symptoms remain to be.

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Cough

 

Testing for Omicron

PCR remains to be the standard test to detect if you are covid positive or not. But to check if you got infected with an omicron variant, genetic analysis is necessary.

 

Vaccination against Omicron

Research is still taking place to find out the effectiveness of the vaccines against Omicron, but WHO believes that the vaccines offer some protection and decrease the chances of severity and death associated with the disease.

 

New norms that the Government of India has set

Following are some of the steps that the government has taken to deal with the new variant-

 

  • Travel details and a negative RT-PCR

If travelling to India, you must submit 14 days of travel details and a negative RT-PCR on the Air Suvidha portal.

 

  • RT-PCR

If you are travelling from a high-risk country, you must undergo an RT-PCR test at the airport and wait until the results. As of now, you don't need RT-PCR if you are coming from countries that are not at risk.

 

The following countries are in the "at-risk" category.

  1. Countries in Europe, including The United Kingdom 
  2. South Africa
  3. Brazil 
  4. Botswana 
  5. China 
  6. Mauritius 
  7. New Zealand 
  8. Zimbabwe 
  9. Singapore 
  10. Hong Kong 
  11. Israel

 

  • Institutional quarantine

If your COVID test comes out to be negative, you still need to do a seven days home quarantine. Covid positive cases will get the treatment as per the standard protocol.

 

  • Genome Sequencing

According to the latest norm introduced on Dec 1, if any traveller comes out to be Covid positive, the samples should be sent for genome sequencing. It will help to detect the omicron strain.

 

  • Contract tracing at its peak

The officials will do an aggressive form of contact tracing to trace the fellow travellers of the covid positive patient.

 

What can you do to prevent Omicron infection?

Your role is pivotal for dealing with the pandemic. Here is a list of things you can do to prevent the spread of infection.

  • Mask on - Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth is necessary.
  • Social distancing- Keep a distance of 6 feet from others.
  • Ventilation- Don't go to crowded places and if working indoors, make sure that you open the windows for proper ventilation.
  • Wash your hands- No treatment is better than prevention. Wash your hands frequently to prevent the covid infection.
  • Vaccines are the only resort- Though research is taking place to test how efficient the vaccines are, you need to understand that they are the only options. WHO-approved vaccines are safe, and hence you should take them when your turn comes.

 

Coping with Omicron

It will be best if you cope with the stress of the omicron variant. Following are some of the tips to make you feel better-

  • Don't panic, stay calm.
  • Don't overthink about the future.
  • Take care of your mind and body regularly with breathing exercises and physical exercise.
  • Maintain social distancing and wear a mask.
  • Make time for activities that you enjoy.

 

The government is taking steps to combat the new variant, but you need to realize that the effort is also necessary at the individual level. So follow COVID protocol and get vaccinated now.