Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair an vital assembly, to be attended by prime authorities officers, at 10.30 am on the COVID-19 and vaccination scenario within the nation.
The assembly comes amid rising world concern in regards to the B.1.1.529 pressure of the coronavirus, which has been purple flagged by scientists over an alarmingly excessive variety of mutations which may make the virus extra immune to vaccines, enhance transmissibility and result in extra extreme signs.
The B.1.1.529 variant – first detected in South Africa this week, and since in Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel, and Belgium – has 50 mutation, together with greater than 30 on the spike protein and 10 on the receptor binding area.
The spike protein is the goal of most present COVID-19 vaccines and is what the virus makes use of to unlock entry to our physique’s cells. Researchers are nonetheless attempting to substantiate whether or not this makes it extra transmissible or deadly than earlier variants.
The B.1.1.529 pressure has been labelled a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Well being Group (WHO), which has renamed it Omicron. The ‘variant of concern’ tag places it within the high-alert class, with the globally-dominant Delta, plus its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma.
Final evening the federal government mentioned scheduled worldwide passenger flights to and from India might return to regular, however just for nations not deemed ‘in danger’ by the Well being Ministry.
South Africa, Botswana, Israel, and Hong Kong are on the ‘in danger’ checklist as of Thursday evening, that means solely 75 per cent of scheduled passenger flights shall be allowed until additional discover.
On Thursday India known as for rigorous screening of passengers from South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong, and the Well being Ministry mentioned: “This variant… has severe public well being implications in view of not too long ago relaxed visa restrictions and opening of worldwide journey.”
In the meantime, the UK, Singapore and Israel have stopped flights from South Africa, Botswana and 4 different African nations. Germany and Italy have additionally banned most journey from South Africa, information company AFP mentioned. South Africa has criticised these selections as “rushed”.
The USA has additionally imposed a journey ban on seven southern African nations. Namibia, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, and Mozambique are on the checklist, as are South Africa and Botswana.
The WHO, nonetheless, has cautioned nations towards instantly imposing journey restrictions, calling for a “risk-based and scientific method”. Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s COVID-19 Technical Lead, this week additionally underlined the significance of making certain full vaccination.
Not like a number of European nations – most notably Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, that are posting report every day circumstances – India has seen a decline in Covid numbers.
This morning the seven-day transferring common of latest circumstances was beneath 10,000 – the bottom it has been since June final yr, and lively circumstances – presently a little bit over 1.1 lakh – proceed to say no.
The emergence of a brand new, and doubtlessly extra infectious pressure, nonetheless, has raised concern of a extra harmful third wave of infections sweeping the nation.
Vaccination protection in India remains to be not as excessive as another nations. As of this morning 120.3 crore doses have been administered, of which solely 42.6 crore is the second dose.