Omicron-The New Variant Of Coronavirus Is In India :Know The Symptoms, Precautions & Guidelines

Shikha Batra

Created by Shikha Batra
Updated on Nov 29, 2021

Reviewed by Expert panel

India’s worst fears have come true with two cases of the new variant of Coronavirus, Omicron found positive in karnataka. The two men aged 66 and 46 years old who came from South Africa to India for business purposes have tested positive for this variant, as told by Lav Agarwal, Joint secretary, Union Health Ministry. The report of these first two cases have added India to a list of 30 countries to have reported cases of this particular strain. This has triggered alarm amongst the Indian Govt. and the officials  are taking all possible precautions. The Karnataka Health Department is testing all primary as well as secondary contacts of these two positive cases. 

“We need not panic, but awareness is absolutely essential COVID apt behaviour is required,” mentioned Balram Bhargava, DG ICMR.

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The central government and the state government have become alert in view of the danger of the new variant of Corona, Omicron. New guidelines have also been issued by the Central Government for travellers coming from other countries. According to these revised guidelines, for all travellers coming to India from abroad, a record of their travel history for the last 14 days will be sought. Read ahead to find the latest updates and other information related to B.1.1.529, the new variant of Corona.

Dr Sanjay Rai, Head of the Department of Community Medicine, Delhi AIIMS, has answered some of the key questions related to the new variant of Covid, Omicron.

  • According to Dr Sanjay Rai, there are constant changes in the nature of the virus. He further explains that Omicron is not the first or the last variant of its kind and these viruses can get mutated thousands of times. He further adds that the new form of the virus that has just emerged is capable of infecting rapidly. The most worrying part  is that in most countries the immunity of maximum people is due to the vaccine but in India, people have developed natural immunity after being infected by the coronavirus itself.

  • Sanjay Rai says that 60 to 70 percent of the people in our country have natural immunity. ICMR has also talked about natural immunity capacity in 68 percent of the population. According to sero-survey, more than 90 percent of people in Delhi have antibodies. If this new variant is not able to bypass the natural immunity of people, then according to the estimates most of the people of India will be safe.

What are the symptoms of Omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus?

A new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, has been found in South Africa. South African Medical Association (SAMA) Chairwoman, Angelique Coetzee mentioned that in the last 10 days, they have examined about 30 infected patients of the new variant of the coronavirus. Fatigue, sore throat, muscle pain and dry cough are some of the common symptoms reported by the infected patients. The body temperature also increases during this episode. However, along with this, Dr. Coetzee has also clarified that most of the patients were below 40 years of age and were not vaccinated against coronavirus.

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How will Omicron's new variant of Coronavirus be detected?

According to WHO, the SARS-CoV-2 PCR test is capable of detecting a new variant of the coronavirus. The Omicron variant was first confirmed in South Africa on 24th November. According to the recent reports, there has been an increase  in positive cases by almost 4 times in the last two weeks in South Africa. 

What precautions should be taken to protect against the new variant Omicron of Corona?

Almost all experts have emphasized that getting fully vaccinated is the most important precaution amongst the list of precautionary measures that people should take . Along with this, the increase in positivity rate due to the new variant also cautions us that the threat of corona epidemic is not completely over yet, so the Covid-friendly protocol should be followed as before.

The Government of India has issued new guidelines in view of the danger of new variants of Covid which will be implemented from 1st December. 

  1. The record of travel history of the last 14 days of international passengers will be sought. That is, the details of the country they have traveled to in the last 2 weeks will have to be declared by them. 

  2. In Uttarakhand, it has been made mandatory for those coming from outside to conduct the RT-PCR test. Instructions have been given to conduct this test while entering the state border. According to the Ministry of Health, if new symptoms of Covid are found in any of the passengers coming from abroad, then immediately test should be done. If found corona positive, they will be kept in Quarantine for 14 days.  

  3. The central government has made 7-day quarantine mandatory for every passenger coming from 12 high-risk countries including Britain and South Africa. 

  4. Passengers coming from these countries will be subjected to the RT-PCR test at the airport itself. They will have to wait there till the test results come. If the report comes out to be negative, then there will be a home quarantine for 7 days followed by a re-test on the eighth day.

  5. All international passengers entering India will have to submit their last 14-day travel details and upload a negative RT-PCR test report  on the online Air Suvidha portal before the journey.

The Delhi government has called an emergency meeting to deal with the possible threat of Omicron in Delhi. New guidelines can be issued in Delhi also in view of the suggestions of the disaster management team. Suggestions are also being sought from experts.

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| Jan 03, 2022


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