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Test you must before and after travel

Beware of Omicron, say docs

Doctors say Do not neglect any symptoms like cough, scratchy throat, and tiredness, and immediately consult your doctor.

PUNE, Dec 4 (The CONNECT) - Just when the whole world was hoping to bring back normalcy despite the pandemic, COVID-19 has stressed us with a new terror. Now, a new variant B.1.1529 has been discovered in South Africa that is said to be a heavily mutated version discovered so far. The variant is named Omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Those infected with this new variant will exhibit bothersome symptoms such as extreme weakness, scratchy throat, and even mild muscle ache. Do not neglect the symptoms and delay testing for it.

The Omicron variant is a matter of concern all over the world now. From currently available data, B.1.1.529 has multiple spike protein mutations, and preliminary analysis suggests it is highly infectious. Several airports across the country along with Delhi and Mumbai, have imposed new restrictions in the wake of the Union government’s new travel rules for international passengers that are set to come into effect from December 1, 2021, owing to the threat from the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Dr. Sanjay Nagarkar, General Physician, Apollo Spectra Pune Said, “Omicron is transmissible and can cause more severe disease than delta variant. This variant was first identified in South Africa, it is known as a ‘variant of concern,’ by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is rapidly spreading to other countries…The ones who have been infected with this variant will showcase symptoms such as tiredness without low oxygen levels, scratchy throat, body pain, mild muscle ache and it is possible to recover without hospitalization.”

Dr. Niranjan Naik, Consultant Pathologist, Apollo Diagnostic, Pune said, “In the view of omicron variant, it is imperative to carry on testing against Covid-19 and improve testing infrastructure. Tests before and after traveling are mandatory. The current RT-PCR test does not specify which variant has been identified. However, the PCR kit manufacturers are working on this issue and we will be able to know more about this once the kit manufacturers publish their results. As this variant has shown a number of mutations on the spike receptor-binding domain site, there is a possibility that few of the vaccines may be ineffective against this variant. But there is not enough data to prove this claim. Timely detection of this variant is essential to curb its spread. Do not neglect any symptoms like cough, scratchy throat, and tiredness, and immediately consult the doctor.”

“To stay safe from this new variant, mask up, maintain social distance, sanitize hands, stay away from sick people, avoid traveling and crowded places, and get fully vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself and those around you and are effective against omicron variant,” Dr. Nagarkar, added.

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