Hyderabad: It could be just a matter of time before Covid-19 positive cases due to Omicron emerge in Telangana, warn State public health officials, who said on Thursday that a third wave triggered by the new variant was possible in January or February if people continue to pay scant regard for Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination.
“There are clear indications of the speed at which Omicron is spreading. In just a matter of three to four days, Omicron variant has spread from just three to four countries to over 30 countries. So, it’s a matter of time that Omicron variant gets reported in Telangana or other Indian States. If people continue to ignore warnings, then we all should take collective responsibility for triggering a future wave in January or February,” Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao said.
At present, barring usage of masks, physical distancing and vaccines, there are no other means left to take precautions from the Delta or Omicron variants. There is a need for people to realise the urgency of the situation and start wearing masks and get vaccinated at the earliest, he said.
To encourage usage of masks, the Health Department has written to enforcement agencies, urging them to revive the imposition of a fine of Rs 1,000 on individuals not wearing masks in public. It has also decided to conduct random checks, through its surveillance teams, at public areas for vaccine certificates from individuals and families.
“Ever since the drop in Covid infections after the second wave, we have been urging people to get vaccinated. But people have not paid much heed. Now, after the Omicron variant, the situation has changed. Even if you get vaccinated now, it will take at least one month more for the body to develop immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We urge people to carry a copy of their vaccine certificates all the time,” he said.
Dr Rao also urged people to be cautious while organising or participating in family functions, birthday parties, marriages, festivals and get-togethers, as the Delta variant was still active.
“In the last fortnight, there has been a slight increase in cases of Covid infections in Telangana. The residential schools are fully operational and there were instances of clusters of cases among students. We must realise that the
SARS-CoV-2 virus has not vanished anywhere,” he added.
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