Mumbai: Festival season a 'critical period', says BMC; asks citizens to follow COVID-19 protocols

The Maharashtra state government has reported new sub-variants of Omicron – BQ.1 (US variant), BA.2.3.20 apart from XBB, which is a recombinant of BA.2.75 and BJ.1. These new variants have a growth advantage over other variants of Omicron like BA.2.75 and immune evasive properties.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 01:44 AM IST
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Mumbai: Festival season a 'critical period', says BMC; asks citizens to follow COVID-19 protocols | File Photos

Day after Maharashtra reported new sub-variants of Omicron, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued an advisory for the festive season for the prevention of COVID-19 where they have asked citizens to adhere to COVID-19 norms and get vaccinated. 

The Maharashtra state government has reported new sub-variants of Omicron – BQ.1 (US variant), BA.2.3.20 apart from XBB, which is a recombinant of BA.2.75 and BJ.1. These new variants have a growth advantage over other variants of Omicron like BA.2.75 and immune evasive properties. 

“Considering the rising trend of COVID-19 cases in the second week of October 2022, and in view of the upcoming festival season this is a critical period as there may be a tendency to ignore COVID-19 safe behaviour during festivals, due to large gatherings, events, fairs, crowds in enclosed and non ventilated spaces,” said an official.

Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer said the state has reported BA.2.3.20 and BQ.1— an offspring of the Omicron COVID-19 variant for the first time. “We have found these variants as part of genome sequencing efforts,” he said. He said that these sub-variants have several mutations but so far little was known about how severe the disease may be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BQ.1 sub-variant makes up one in 10 new cases in the US.

In view of the upcoming festive season, Executive Health Officer has advised following precautionary measures for preventing a surge in COVID -19 cases 

•    It is important to adhere to Covid Appropriate Behavior during festival season.

•    If you haven't been vaccinated yet, now is a good time. And if your immune system is compromised or at risk, boosters can help boost your immunity to the virus.  

•    Maintain good ventilation indoors, as virus spread is aided in closed rooms.

•    Avoid close contact with symptomatic patients

•    Frequent hand washing

•    Use a handkerchief/tissue paper to cover the nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing.

•    Wearing masks is crucial in crowded places for the prevention of the spread of infection.

•    It's important to get tested as soon as you start to have symptoms. While waiting for the results, try to isolate yourself from others so that you can break the chain of infection.

•    The importance of early detection is also related to the effectiveness of the treatment taken. Therefore, the sooner you know you are sick, the easier it will be to determine when you need treatment or hospitalization.

Following patients should seek immediate medical advice

•    Patients having difficulty in breathing

•    Immunocompromised patients who have recently visited countries in which Coronavirus infection is prevalent.

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