The World Health Organisation (WHO) has flagged XBB.1.16, an Omicron subvariant documented mainly in India.
WHO’s Covid-19 technical team monitors it because potential changes should be tracked. The strain has been reported in 22 countries, with most cases coming from India.
There have been over 114 per cent rise in Covid-19 deaths in India and a 437 per cent spike in cases in the last 28 days. The epidemiological report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on March 31 States that the South-East Asia Region reported over 27,000 new cases, a 152 per cent increase as compared to the previous 28-day period, with the highest proportional increase observed in India (18,130 versus 3,378 new points) followed by the Maldives (129 per cent) and Nepal (89 per cent). Similarly, India reported at least 62 recent deaths, a 114 per cent rise with one new death per 100,000.
Public health experts have said that the symptoms of this new variant are mostly low-grade flu-like. People may experience symptoms in the upper and lower respiratory tract. Regarding upper respiratory tract symptoms, people may experience nasal discharge, a sore throat, a slow-rising fever lasting for one or two days, and loss of smell. In case of these symptoms, people should get tested for Covid. For lower respiratory tract symptoms, people may suffer from severe bronchitis and cough. Experts say this new variant is different from others because it spreads faster than other variants.
Sources said deaths due to the virus are also trending, but numbers are very low so far. The worst hit is Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi and Tamil Nadu.
It is also stated that Himachal Pradesh, the most vaccinated State, is also witnessing a surprise increase. However, this is likely because the State is a well-known tourist hotspot.
On March 30, Maharashtra reported 694 new cases and no deaths. Around 9.4 per cent of lab samples have tested positive till March 30. Mumbai has the maximum number of active cases (846) in the State, followed by Pune (773) and Thane (524).
Kerala also saw 765 cases. Out of the 14 deaths nationwide on March 30, eight were from the southern State. March 30’s 3,016 cases figures were the highest since October 2, 2022.