The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has issued a warning about the third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) hitting the country if necessary precautions are not taken amid the surge in Omicron cases. The new variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus has so far infected 23 people across the country.
With the scientific evidence available and the experience noted in countries of origin, it is evident that the Omicron variant will have high penetrability and will affect more people, the IMA claimed at a press conference on Monday.
"At a time when India is limping back to normalcy, this is a great setback. If we do not take adequate measures, we may have a massive third wave," it said.
The doctors' body also demanded that the government expedite the proposal of vaccinating individuals aged 12 to 18 years.
"At this juncture, IMA also appeals to the government to officially announce additional dose (of vaccine) be given to healthcare, frontline workers and immunocompromised individuals to augment the immunity," the IMA officials said.
The Omicron strain was first detected in southern African countries late last month, and categorised as 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organization (WHO). The rapidly-spreading variant is believed to be more resistant to vaccines.
Since being detected in Botswana, Omicron has spread to two dozen countries. In India, 23 cases of the new strain has been detected, and the highest number is in Maharashtra.
The Indian government has implemented strict measures for international travellers, especially those arriving from countries identified as 'at risk' by the Centre. These travellers have to mandatorily carry a negative RT-PCR test result (not older than 72 hours) and upload the travel details of the last 14 days on government's Suvidha portal.
These international passengers have also been asked to quarantine at home for seven days.