Here are the latest updates about the new coronavirus variant:

  1. Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray suggested on Tuesday that the Centre allow frontline workers to get booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine. He also said that the minimum age for getting inoculated should be brought down to 15 years and called for gap between the first and second vaccine doses to be reduced to four weeks amid concerns about the Omicron variant. Thackeray said that his suggestions came from discussions with doctors and those who are closely observing the Covid-19 situation.
  2. United Kingdom Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that there is community transmission of the Omicron coronavirus variant in multiple regions of England, reported BBC. He said that there have been 336 confirmed cases of the variant, a rise of 90 from Sunday. In view of the emergence of the variant, it is compulsory to produce a negative Covid- 19 report before travelling to the UK. 
  3. India has added African countries Ghana and Tanzania to its list of “at-risk” countries amid concerns about the Omicron variant. The other countries on this list are the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.
  4. The Union health ministry informed the Parliament on Tuesday that studies are underway in India and abroad to determine how long antibodies can protect against Covid-19, PTI reported. 
  5. A Bengaluru health officer has filed a police complaint under the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act, 2020, against a South African man, who had tested positive for the Omicron variant, for leaving the country ahead of the end of his 14-day quarantine, reported The Indian Express. A five-star hotel where he was residing and was quarantined has also been named in the first information report.
  6. Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation chief Vijay Suryavanshi said that 109 out of 295 recent foreign returnees to the township in Thane district are untraceable, reported PTI. He said the mobile phones of some of these people were switched off while many of the last given addresses were found to be locked.
  7. The Indian Medical Association on Monday warned of a third wave of coronavirus arriving in India if necessary precautions were not taken amid a surge in cases of the Omicron variant in the country, the Hindustan Times. The association added that there was scientific evidence that the Omicron variant will have “high penetrability and will affect more people”.
  8. Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said that the five contacts of the man in Bengaluru infected by the Omicron variant have no symptoms of the disease and that it shows the importance of vaccinations, reported The Indian Express. Meanwhile, the active cases in the state saw an increased on 27.45% in the first week of December.
  9. World Health Organization official Hans Kluger said it has not been ascertained if the Omicron strain will be more contagious or whether it will cause milder Covid-19 infections, The Guardian reported on Tuesday. 
  10. Spain approved Covid-19 vaccine for children in the age group of five to 11 amid an increase in cases, AP reported.