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70 per cent of Covid cases in Telangana may be Omicron

“Omicron is already in the community. Our estimates are that more than 70 per cent are Omicron cases. We cannot do genome sequencing for all,” said director of public health and family welfare Dr G Srinivasa Rao.

IANS | Hyderabad |

More than 70 per cent of Covid-19 cases being detected in Telangana may be cases of Omicron as the new variant has already spread in the community, a top health official said on Thursday.

“Omicron is already in the community. Our estimates are that more than 70 per cent are Omicron cases. We cannot do genome sequencing for all,” said director of public health and family welfare Dr G Srinivasa Rao.

The official warned that a bigger surge in cases in Telangana is likely after the Sankranti festival this month.

The official said the number of cases increased with New Year and maximum number of infections are being reported from Greater Hyderabad.

The state has witnessed a four-fold jump in the number of cases during the last five days. On Wednesday, the state reported 1,520 new infections.

Telangana had reported 1,052 new cases on Tuesday. This was after a gap of more than six months the state’s Covid tally had crossed 1,000. The positivity rate is more than three per cent.

The director of public health said in case of any symptoms people should approach the doctor instead of self medication. Reiterating that the department is geared up to tackle the third wave, he said two crore Covid testing kits and more than a crore home isolation kits were ready.

As part of the measures to tackle the third wave, the department has canceled leaves of all healthcare workers. The staff will not be granted leave for next four weeks.

Srinivasa Rao said despite the state logging hundreds of cases every day, the impact was not severe. No significant increase in hospital admissions was noted. Even those found infected by the new variant are recovering in five days.

The genome sequencing test is being conducted only for those samples collected from Covid positive among air passengers from at-risk countries and about two per cent random samples taken from the travelers coming from non-risk countries.

The state has so far reported 94 Omicron cases. Of them 43 have recovered while the remaining are currently under treatment.

Stating that the treatment protocol is not different for Omicron, the officials said there was no need to differentiate between Omicron and other variants.

Srinivasa Rao said the coming four weeks will be critical as a bigger surge is likely this month. He, however, hoped that the surge may subside in the middle of February.

He appealed to all to abide by the guidelines issued by the government to check the spread of Covid. Stating that protection from virus is in the hands of people, he said they should always wear masks, maintain social distance, frequently wash hands and take vaccines.

The health department has set the target of 100 per cent vaccination of the second dose by January 26. The state has already administered doses to 10 per cent of the children in the age group of 15-18. The department has now decided to reach out to children to give the vaccine.