Here are the latest updates on the new coronavirus variant:

  1. There is no clear evidence on the transmissibility, severity, or the ability of the Omicron variant to evade immune response in India, said the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, or Insacog. In a bulletin, the country’s genome sequencing body said there were some indicators that the severity of the disease caused due to the variant may be milder. However, the bulletin added that there was insufficient data to determine whether it is because of prior infections or vaccination.
  2. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that a report on the effectiveness of the available vaccines against the Omicron variant would be available in a week, reported The Hindu. He said that so far, 161 cases of Omicron have been detected in the country.
  3. In the Rajya Sabha, Mandaviya also said that India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity will be increased to 45 crore doses per month in the next two months, reported PTI. 
  4. In the United Kingdom, 12 citizens have died because of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said on Monday, reported Reuters. Raab refused to rule out a stringent restrictions before Christmas amid a surge in cases. The United Kingdom reported 82,886 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, a 72% increase from the new infections reported last week, The Guardian reported. The country also reported 12,133 cases of the Omicron variant, taking the tally to 37,101.  
  5. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said that his administration will send all samples of coronavirus cases for genome sequencing as cases rises in the city. The national Capital so far has seen 24 patients, of whom 12 have been discharged. Kejriwal also urged the Centre to allow booster shots for fully vaccinated citizens. Apart from Delhi, the new variant of the coronavirus is now present in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karanataka, Telangana, Gujarat, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
  6. Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said that standard operating procedures have already been issued for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. “There is no plan to put restrictions on the Christmas and New Year’s parties,” she told ANI. “We appeal to people to follow the SOPs issued by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Mumbai Police.”
  7. All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Sunday that India should prepare for any eventuality in the light of rising coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom, ANI reported. He added that when there is a surge in other parts of the world, a country needs to assess its circumstances closely.
  8. The Tamil Nadu Health Department has written to the Union health ministry requesting mandatory Covid-19 testing for all the international travellers arriving at the four airports in the state, IANS reported on Sunday. Currently, the health ministry conducts tests of passengers coming from “at risk” countries. Only 2% of the travellers from other countries have been tested randomly.
  9. Thailand on Monday registered its first case of local transmission of the variant, according to Reuters. The country is now considering reimposing mandatory quarantine rules for foreign visitors.
  10. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that hospitals in the country must reserve more beds and resources for the treatment of the coronavirus patients, reported Reuters. Meanwhile, authorities in Sydney appealed to residents to “move away from fear” of the coronavirus amid calls to make masks compulsory indoors and restrict the number of people visiting places, according to Reuters.