Updated on: Thursday, December 16, 2021, 09:30 AM IST

COVID-19 Omicron scare: BMC puts city on high alert till January 15

Representative Image
 | Unsplash

Representative Image | Unsplash


Amid a surge of Omicron cases in the city, the BMC has directed all ward officers to closely monitor the situation in their respective wards until January 15.

This comes after the city witnessed 12 Omicron cases, of which most of them are asymptomatic and have been discharged. Civic officials said there will be a rise in international travellers in the coming days and consequent gatherings which will need to be monitored closely.

The state Task Force has advised the government to strictly screen inbound travellers, reinforce Covid-appropriate behaviour with emphasis on wearing N95 or double masks, focus on vaccination and check the preparedness of the state’s health infrastructure.

Dr Lancelot Pinto, consultant pulmonologist at PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC, said there is still reason to believe that even for Omicron, vaccines protect from moderate to severe disease, so there is a need to ramp up vaccination. The traditional and tested measures such as masking, avoiding crowds (especially indoors) and sanitising will continue to be effective, no matter what the variant.

“I think it is extremely important to prevent superspreader events, and the government should restrict large gatherings. We also need to start offering booster doses of the vaccine to frontline workers and those who are elderly and immunocompromised,” he said.

Globally, the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 continues to remain dominant but the scientific community is particularly concerned about Omicron’s multiple mutations, some of them in the ACE2 receptor, the proteins that are entry points for the virus into the human cells. Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said they have been closely monitoring all travellers from high-risks countries and all have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR tests.

He said, “We had expected cases to increase after Diwali but there was a marginal surge, but now the Omicron variant is the ‘variant of concern’ so we have decided to increase screening in each ward, and check foreign travellers who have been missed out by them,” he said.

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Published on: Thursday, December 16, 2021, 09:30 AM IST