December 5: Following the confirmation of two cases of Omicron variant of Covid-19 in India, the World Health Organisation has urged the South-East Asia Region to further consolidate COVID-19 response measures to control the spread of the virus and its variants.
"Strengthening surveillance to rapidly detect import of any new variant and transmission of existing virus and its variants, implementing calibrated public health and social measures and scaling up vaccination coverage should continue to be our focus," said Regional Director of the WHO South-East Asia Region, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, in a statement issued on Friday.
India on Thursday confirmed two cases of the new variant which the WHO has categorized as 'of concern' within a week of the announcement of the spread of the virus.
As part of the surveillance, countries should ensure that they set up early warning systems, comprising multiple indicators such as rapid increase in cases and test positivity rates apart from monitoring whether there is a pressure on health care system such as bed occupancy in wards and intensive care units, she stressed.
"We cannot and should not let the virus and its variants spread and mutate further and continue to challenge us. We need to do everything we can to curtail their spread. We know what to do. The pandemic has lasted just too long and is draining our precious human and other resources. We need to stop this," she stressed. -- RSS