India records first confirmed Omicron death

  • India’s health ministry on Wednesday confirmed the country’s first death from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Union joint secretary in the health ministry, Lav Agarwal, said the death of a 73-year-old patient from Udaipur, Rajasthan (reported on December 31) was “technically” related to Omicron.
  • “That person had already died by the time the Omicron positive results came,” Agarwal clarified. “He had diabetes and other comorbid conditions and was being treated as per protocol for his comorbid conditions as well as for the infection.
  • “Our guidelines state that if a coronavirus patient dies, it is considered as a Covid-19 fatality. Similarly, if a person is found to be Omicron positive, even if it is detected late, we will consider that as an Omicron positive case.”
  • The patient was admitted to hospital on December 15, but tested negative for Covid-19 twice later. His genome sequencing report which came later showed that he was infected with the Omicron variant.
  • Booster update: The ‘precaution dose’ (booster) for Covid — to be administered from January 10 to health and frontline workers, and those above 60 with comorbidities — will be of the same vaccine as the first and second dose, the government clarified.
  • “Those who got Covaxin will get Covaxin and those who got Covishield will get Covishield,” said NITI Aayog member-health Dr VK Paul. Per government projections, nearly 3 crore health and frontline workers are expected to be eligible in January for the ‘precaution dose’, to be administered nine months after the second dose. For the 60+ age group with comorbidities, the projected figure is 2.8 crore.
  • New isolation rules: All mild and asymptomatic Covid patients, including those infected with Omicron, can now isolate at home, the Centre announced while revising the isolation guidelines. The time for home isolation has been reduced to seven days from testing positive with no fever for three successive days, compared with 10 days earlier.

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