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The government today said people should not think that new and highly infectious Covid-19 variant, Omicron, is just a common cold. While holding a presser on coronavirus situation across the country, Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul said it's everyone's responsibility to slow it down.

He urged people to get vaccinated as soon as possible and follow-up Covid-appropriate protocol like masking up. “It's fact they (vaccines) are helpful to an extent. Vaccination critical pillar of our COVID response," he said.

Talking about the overuse and misuse of drugs in the backdrop of third Covid wave in India, Dr Paul said there should be a rational approach for medicine use. “Don't overuse, it will have aftermath...Have warm water, do gargles in home care," said Dr Paul.

Also read: Omicron has ‘substantial growth advantage’ over Delta Covid variant, says Centre

Earlier, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry said Omicron has a substantial “growth advantage" over Delta variant of coronavirus as per the World Health Organisation data. India has seen a significant rise in Omicron cases in the past two weeks.

Agarwal said the latest data from South Africa, UK, Canada, Denmark, however, suggests a reduced risk of hospitalisation for Omicron compared to Delta variant, which had high hospitalisation across the world.

The highly transmissible variant Omicron has infected 4,868 patients in India so far, of which only 1,805 people have recovered. The Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday stated that India added 1,94,720 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of Covid-19 cases to 3,60,70,510, which includes 4,868 cases of the Omicron variant.

Also read: Omicron tally in India reaches 4,868 as the country battles highest number of Covid cases in 211 days

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