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Updated on: Monday, January 03, 2022, 10:17 PM IST

75% cases in metros are Omicron: Covid task force chief says 'third wave of pandemic is very much here'

Mumbai: Health workers attend to a patient at the Jumbo COVID-19 Centre, as coronavirus cases surge in record numbers across the country, in Mumbai, Thursday, April 22, 2021.  | (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil

Mumbai: Health workers attend to a patient at the Jumbo COVID-19 Centre, as coronavirus cases surge in record numbers across the country, in Mumbai, Thursday, April 22, 2021. | (PTI Photo/Kunal Patil

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While COVID-19 is looming again over India with a significant rise in some states and cities, country's Covid task force on Monday said that the third wave of the pandemic is very much here. A concerning number of Omicron cases are being reported across country which indicates the arrival of third wave.

According to NDTV report, Dr NK Arora who is Chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) said, cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata have a combined 75 per cent share of infections of the highly transmissible coronavirus variant Omicron that was first detected in South Africa in November.

"Look at whatever the variants have been genome sequenced... We got our first virus right in the first week of December. So, last week, nationally overall, 12 per cent of the variants identified were Omicron and the week gone by in the previous week, it has increased to 28 per cent. So, it is rapidly increasing as a proportion of all the Covid infections in the country. Now, having said that, I must also say something more important and that is that around the major metro cities, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and particularly Delhi, it is over 75 per cent of all the isolates now," said Dr Arora.

"India is clearly in the third wave of COVID-19. And the whole wave seems to be driven by a new variant and today it is Omicron," Dr NK Arora said, adding this is supported by evidence from the last four-five days that saw "galloping increase in the number of cases".

"It is absolutely safe. See, initially when the vaccines were being produced, the overall shelf-life issues were available only for that period when the studies were being done. Now, today, with the experience and the time, since when the vaccine was produced, the shelf-life has been evaluated through various animal studies. And it clearly shows that the vaccine is effective and active potency is maintained up to 12 months," Dr Arora said.

However, Dr Arora dismissed concerns that vaccines being given to 15-18 age group, who started getting the anti-Covid jabs today, could be unsafe as the doses had their shelf-life extended.

India's Covid tally rose to 3,49,22,882 with 33,750 fresh cases, while the active cases increased to 1,45,582, according to the data updated at 8 am. The death toll climbed to 4,81,893 with 123 more fatalities, the data showed.

The active cases have increased to 1,45,582 comprising 0.42 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.20 per cent, the health ministry said.

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Published on: Monday, January 03, 2022, 10:17 PM IST
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