Risk persists even though Covid cases starting to plateau in parts of India: WHO

The Health Ministry says early indications of Covid cases plateauing have been reported in certain parts of the country but the trend needs to be observed

Risk persists even though Covid cases starting to plateau in parts of India: WHO

Photo for representation only. Reuters

PTI

New Delhi, January 29

Even though some cities or states in India may be beginning to see plateauing of Covid cases, the risk persists and focus must be on reducing transmission and implementing situation-specific measures, senior WHO official Poonam Khetrapal Singh said.

The Health Ministry said on Thursday that early indications of Covid cases plateauing have been reported in certain parts of the country but the trend needs to be observed.

Responding to a question that coronavirus cases have started plateauing in India, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, said the risk of Covid remains high and no country, irrespective of their current transmission scenario, is "out of the woods" yet.

"Hence, even though some cities or states may be beginning to see plateauing of cases, the risk persists. We need to continue to remain vigilant. Our focus must be on reducing transmission. Implementing situation-specific public health and social measures and increasing vaccine coverage  - that's the way forward for all countries in the ongoing pandemic," Singh told PTI in an interview.

On January 21, the country reported a total of 3,47,254 new Covid cases after which the daily infection count has been reducing. A decline in Covid cases and positivity rate has been especially observed in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Odisha, Haryana and West Bengal.

Asked if the pandemic is entering in endemic stages, Singh said, currently "we are still in the midst of the pandemic and the focus should be to curtail the virus spread and save lives".

"By becoming endemic doesn't mean that the virus will not be a cause of concern," she said.

Compared to the Covid's delta variant, she said omicron is able to more rapidly infect the tissues of the upper respiratory tract rather than the lungs, which may also help the spread of this variant.

"There appears to be a lower risk of severe disease and death following omicron infection as compared to other variants. However, due to the very high numbers of cases, many countries have seen a significant increase in the incidence of hospitalisation, putting pressure on health care systems," she said.

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