Hyderabad, Dec 30 (IANS) Telangana's health department on Thursday cautioned people to remain alert for next 2-4 weeks in view of the surge in Covid-19 cases and the fast spreading new variant Omicron which could mark the beginning of the third wave of the pandemic.
Director of public health and family welfare Dr G. Srinivasa Rao said the coming 2-4 weeks will be critical for the state and for the entire country due to the spike in cases. "Omicron has already spread in the community. Everybody is vulnerable but it is in the hands of every person to protect himself," he said.
The official said for the last 2-3 days, Telangana recorded a minor jump in the number of cases. He pointed out that states like Delhi and Maharashtra were witnessing a big surge.
The official referred to the massive surge being witnessed in countries like the United States and Europe. He said the US, the UK and Europe have become the epicentre of the pandemic. In the US, the daily count of cases jumped to over 5 lakh from 1-2 lakh a couple of days ago.
He said people need not panic but at the same time remain alert and take all precautions. The New Year and Samkranti will lead to a lot of movement of people in Telugu states and may cause a third wave soon.
The director of health said learning lessons from the second wave, the government has taken all steps to tackle the third one. These include testing, surveillance, treatment and keeping infrastructure, human resources and medicines readily available.
He advised people to take precautions which they had taken in the first and second wave. They should wear a mask, maintain social distance, wash hands regularly and take vaccines.
He believes that the third wave may not last long but in the short period the country may witness an unprecedented surge. "Earlier we saw over a lakh daily cases in India and over 10,000 cases in Telangana but in coming days this could be five times higher or even more. There is no need for panic because we have created awareness among people about the disease," he said.
The director said though available global data shows that 90 per cent of those testing positive for Omicron are asymptomatic, the remaining 10 per cent could be serious and this 10 per cent could be in lakhs.
He advised people who test positive for Covid not to waste their money in genome sequencing to find out if they were infected by Omicron. "Whether it is Delta or Omicron, there is no difference in the treatment," he said.
Telangana has so far recorded 62 Omicron cases. "We will soon start treating all cases as Covid cases," he said.