Home / News / India /  More infectious Omicron strain BA 2.75 circulating in Delhi, warns health experts

National capital Delhi has been witnessing a sudden surge in Covid-19 cases which has given rise to suspicion of a fourth wave in the city. In the last 10 days, the national capital recorded 19,760 Covid cased and 40 infection-related fatalities. Chairman of the Centre's Covid Task Force, Dr NK Arora, has told NDTV, that the strains of Omicron circulating in Delhi currently are more infectious than the base strain that had been detected earlier in January this year.  

Dr. Arora has further stated that the effectiveness of the vaccines has also reduced significantly to 20-30 per cent. He also stated to NDTV that the current strains doing the rounds in Delhi – like the sub-lineages of Omicron B5 and B2 are 20 to 30 per cent more infectious than the base Omicron variant. 

A new Omicron sub-variant has been detected in the majority of samples taken from Covid patients in Delhi as part of a study at the LNJP Hospital here, news agency PTI reported. A senior official of the hospital on Thursday said the samples of these patients were sent for genome sequencing and analysed this week.

More than half of these samples have been detected with the new sub-variant BA 2.75 of Omicron, he said. Doctors at the 2,000-bed LNJP Hospital, the largest under the Delhi government, has been the mainstay of the capital's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic since its outbreak here in March 2020.

Delhi on Wednesday reported eight fatalities due to coronavirus, the highest in nearly 180 days, and 2,146 new cases with a positivity rate of 17.83 per cent, according to data shared by the health department here.

In the 10 days in August, Delhi has recorded 40 deaths due to Covid-19, nearly thrice the cumulative figures registered in the last 10 days of July when 14 people had succumbed to the viral disease, according to official data. The total number of cases recorded during the August 1-10 period stands at 19,769.

The positivity rate of Coronavirus cases in Delhi has also rose up to an alarming 18%. Delhi saw 1,372 infections and six deaths on August 8 with a positivity rate of 17.85%, the highest since January 21, as per the data. On January 21, the positivity rate had stood at 18.04%.

Further, the Delhi authorities on 11 August, made wearing of masks mandatory in all public places. The government also directed to fine 500 on people for not wearing masks.

Officials and health experts have been stressing on the need for increasing testing in order to have a better understanding of the total number of coronavirus infected patients in the national capital. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Tuesday said Covid cases were on the rise in Delhi, but there was no need to panic as most of the new cases were mild in nature.

Despite the rise in the positivity rate, the city government is not implementing the graded response action plan (GRAP) devised by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority since the hospital admissions are low.

The GRAP came into force in August last year, stipulating measures to be taken by the government in accordance with the positivity rate and bed occupancy for locking and unlocking of various activities.

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