With four more new cases of the Omicron variant reported in Kerala on Wednesday, the total number of patients with the new Covid variant has risen to five.

Among the two infected are the wife and mother-in-law of the State’s first Omicron patient that was confirmed on December 2. The other two cases are in Thiruvananthapuram for a 35-year old who returned from Congo and a 22-year-old woman native from Ernakulam who returned from the UK.

According to officials, the health condition of all four patients was satisfactory and there was no need for any panic. The contacts of all the patients have been identified and flight and passenger details of the new cases have been traced.

It may be recalled that medical experts have cautioned the government to increase the number of genome sequencing of patients considering the fast spreading of the Omicron variant in various countries. Kerala is one of the few states going for routine genetic sequencing study.

Also read: The daily dose: December 16, 2021

Indu PS, Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Kollam stressed the need for an intensive campaign for immunisation in the State. The mortality data says that the majority are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. The State has to be more cautious with the Omicron variant as breakthrough infection or re-infection is on the higher side in many infected countries. But the severity is low among the vaccinated population.

As far as Kerala is concerned, Indu pointed out that the vaccination coverage is good with 97 per cent of the population receiving the single-dose and 70 per cent both the doses.

Right now, there is no cause of concern as far as Kerala is concerned with the Omicron variant as the positivity rate is really at a comfortable level. However, there is a need to take extra care of people by avoiding clusters or crowding, wearing masks, preferring open spaces for functions and other activities and keeping social distance from getting infected.

Also read: Tamil Nadu registers first Omicron Covid variant case

The Omicron variant is fast spreading and will be a concern when the R- number goes above 1. If it is below one, it can be presumed that the pandemic is under control. However, it is to be remembered that the R number is above 3 in the UK, she said.

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