Study finds Omicron less severe, India urged to be alert

A major analysis says that people catching Omicron are 50% to 70% less likely to need hospital care than previous variants.

The report shows people catching Omicron are 31% to 45% less likely to go to A&E, and 50% to 70% less likely to be admitted to hospital for treatment. However, a milder virus could still pressure hospitals because it spreads so fast.

According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), early findings are "encouraging", but the variant could still lead to large numbers of people in hospital.

The health secretary Sajid Javid said it was "too early" to determine "next steps".

He also warned: "Cases of the variant continue to rise at an extraordinary rate - already surpassing the daily record number in the pandemic. Hospital admissions are increasing, and we cannot risk the NHS being overwhelmed."

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on December 23 to review the efforts to combat Covid-19 and Omicron strain.


He said the fight against the pandemic is not over and the need for continued adherence to Covid safe behaviour is of paramount importance even today. "In view of the new variant, we should be 'satark' (alert) and 'saavdhan' (cautious)," the Prime Minister said.


The Prime Minister said that states need to ensure that the eligible population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and meet the target in a saturation mode.

The Prime Minister was briefed of the various actions taken since November 25 this year when the first advisory of the Indian Health Ministry was shared with the states.

"The strategy of the Centre for a proactive, focussed, collaborative and cooperative fight against the pandemic should guide all our future actions," PM Modi told officials.

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