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Omicron in 'Community Transmission' Stage in India: What the Govt Has Said

INSACOG has said that the Omicron variant continues to pose a threat to the Indian population.

Updated
COVID-19
3 min read
Omicron in 'Community Transmission' Stage in India: What the Govt Has Said
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The Omicron variant has reached the community transmission stage in India, as per a 10 January bulletin by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), which was released on Sunday, 23 January.

In addition, Omicron has become the dominant variant in metro cities where there is a surge in coronavirus cases, as per INSACOG.

Threat Level High, Community Transmission: What Has INSACOG Said?

"Omicron is now in community transmission in India and has become dominant in multiple metros, where new cases have been rising exponentially," states INSACOG's latest bulletin. The variant has become dominant in Delhi and Mumbai, as per the health body.

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The INSACOG, which reports genomic surveillance of SARS CoV-2 across the country, has said that the Omicron variant continues to pose a threat to the Indian population. It adds:

"While most Omicron cases so far have been asymptomatic or mild, hospitalizations and ICU cases have been increasing in the current wave. The threat level remains unchanged."
INSACOG

"The threat level remains high and requires constant vigil as the situation rapidly evolves with community spread. COVID appropriate behaviour and vaccination are main shields against all form mutations of SARSCoV-2 virus," a previous report, which has also been released lately, has said.

What Does This Mean?

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes community transmission as “evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories).”

To put it simply, community transmission is when one is unable to trace the source of infection back to the carrier. For example, Person A has COVID-19 and the authorities are unable to trace the contact/source through which they got the infection. When this happens repeatedly, for a number of cases, then it is said that the infection is in community transmission stage.

“Further spread of Omicron in India is now expected to be through internal transmission, not foreign travellers,” the INSACOG has clarified.

Community spread is said to be the third stage of the pandemic. Following a prolonged period of third stage (which would vary from country to country), the pandemic becomes an endemic.

A senior epidemiologist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi on Sunday indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic is moving towards the endemic stage.

"Looking at the COVID-19 vaccination status and the natural infection, we can say that very soon, the majority of us will be getting an infection. And then this virus will convert into the endemic virus," Dr Sanjay Rai told news agency ANI.

False Negatives for Omicron Likely, No Case of France Variant in India: What Else Has the INSACOG Said?

While tests suitable for PCR-based screening applicable to all Omicron lineages have been approved for use, it is likely that false negative results may be received for Omicron.

"The BA.2 lineage is a substantial fraction in India and S-gene dropout based screening is thus likely to give high false negatives," the INSACOG has said in its latest bulletin.

Further, the genome surveillance agency has said that the COVID-19 variant detected in France is being monitored, and no case of the same has been found in India so far.

"The recently reported B.1.640.2 lineage is being monitored. There is no evidence of rapid spread and while it has features of immune escape, it is currently not a variant of concern. So far, no case detected in India," the report said.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
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