New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday issued a warning that Omicron infection should not be treated as common cold and laid emphasis on the need to maintain COVID-appropriate behaviour, wear masks and get vaccinated. The Ministry also announced a revision in the discharge policy for COVID-19 patients.
“After a review meeting by the PM over the COVID situation, we have revised our discharge policy with severity categorised into mild and moderate cases,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry.
The mild cases of COVID-19 will be discharged after at least seven days from testing positive and in case of non-emergency for three successive days, said Agarwal. He further added that there was no need for testing prior to being discharged. “For moderate case, if there is resolution of symptoms, patient maintains O2 saturation above 93 per cent for three successive days (without O2)..such patient will be discharged,” said Agarwal.
“Omicron is not common cold, it’s our responsibility to slow it down. Let’s mask up and get vaccinated, whoever is due. It’s fact they (vaccines) are helpful to an extent. Vaccination critical pillar of our COVID response,” said Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul.
Warning against overuse of medicines, Paul said, “There should be a rational approach for medicine use. We are concerned about the overuse and misuse of drugs. Don’t overuse, it will have aftermath…Have warm water, do gargles in home care.”
“Omicron has a substantial growth advantage over Delta as per WHO…Data from South Africa, UK, Canada, Denmark suggests a reduced risk of hospitalisation for Omicron compared to Delta,” said Agarwal.
In India, the emerging states of concerns reporting high positive rates include Maharashtra with a rate positivity rate of 22.39 per cent, West Bengal with 32.18 per cent, Delhi with 23.1 per cent and UP with 4.47 per cent.
The Health Ministry highlighted a sharp surge in COVID cases in India and said the active cases stood at 9,55,319 as on January 12. “High surge has been noticed globally in 159 countries. Eight countries in Europe have been reporting an increase of cases by more than 2 times in the last two weeks,” said Agarwal.
There have been 115 confirmed deaths globally due to Omicron and one death in India, said Agarwal.