Is 4th Covid wave taking roots in India ?
NEW DELHI, Jan 4
For the second week running, India recorded a marginal rise in Covid-19 cases although the numbers remained very low. In the week ending Sunday, 1,526 fresh cases were recorded in the country, up 25% from the previous week’s tally of 1,219.
This comes when the Government has sounded alert anticipating a spike in the Covid-19 cases in January, following the precarious situation of the pandemic in China and some other countries.
There were signs of a spike in Karnataka, where new cases jumped from 116 in the previous week to 276. No sharp surge was reported elsewhere in the country, although cases rose marginally in a few States.
Kerala tops the list again Kerala continued to report the highest number of new cases at 467, up from 416 in the previous week. Tamil Nadu also registered an increase, going from 47 in the preceding week to 86.
Case numbers remained flat in most other States. Maharashtra reported 168 fresh infections during the week as opposed to 172 in the previous one. Delhi logged 81 cases, up slightly from 72, while the numbers dipped in Rajasthan from 81 in the preceding week to 48. All other States recorded less than 50 new cases.
The Government has advised the States to ramp up testing and administration of booster dose. It has asked the agencies to increase the number of genome sequencing of the samples to ascertain if the country has new variants of the SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. There has been apprehension about the emergence of new variants from the Chinese situation.
Meanwhile, in a first since March 2020, Covid deaths during the week (December 26-January 1) dipped to single figures at six. This was the lowest weekly toll since zero deaths were reported during March 16-22, 2020. In the previous week (December 19-25), 16 deaths were recorded, as per TOI’s Covid database.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday said Covid-19 is not over yet and asked people to be alert and directed officials to strengthen surveillance. Mansukh Mandaviya chaired a review meeting with health officials on the Covid-19 situation amid the spurt in global cases and said the
'BF.7 variant less likely to trigger major Covid wave'
With India sounding caution amid a major Covid cases in China, experts said that the highly transmissible BF.7 Omicron variant of Covid-19, which is driving the Chinese surge, is no cause for concern.
Dr V Ravi, virologist and head of research and development at Tata Medical and Diagnostics, Bengaluru categorically said the new variant will not lead to another wave in India.
"The variant is not likely to pose a serious risk to the Indian population. The worst-case scenario is that the variant will cause very mild upper respiratory symptoms for one or two days," he told TOI.
BF.7 is of Omicron lineage and in people who are not vaccinated, it will behave like the regular SARS-CoV-2, said Ravi.
"That is what is happening in China. The population has been neither exposed to the variant nor have they been vaccinated. In those people, any Omicron sub-lineage will behave like the parent SARS CoV2 virus. Around 80% will be asymptomatic, while 15-20% will have moderate disease and 5% very severe disease," he said.
'Omicron's XBB most prevalent sub-lineage in India'
Earlier this week, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) bulletin said that Omicron and its sub-lineages continue to be the dominant variant in India with 'XBB' being the most prevalent sub-lineage circulating all over the country.
According to the bulletin, BA.2.75 and BA.2.10 were also circulating but in lesser extent.
“Especially, in North East India, BA.2.75 is the prevalent sub-lineage. However, any increase in disease severity or hospitalisation has not been observed over this period,” it said.
“In northern part of India, XBB was prevalent, whereas in the eastern part, BA.2.75 was the prevalent sub-lineage. BA.2.10 and other Omicron sub-lineage frequency was lower last week. However, any increase in disease severity or hospitalisation has not been observed over this period,” it said. TOI (With inputs from agencies)