This new coronavirus variant announced by scientists in South Africa, B.1.1.529, was identified as a "variant of concern (VOC)" by the World Health Organization (WHO) and given the name Omicron.
A high-level meeting was chaired by PM Modi to assess the Covid-19 situation in view of the fear of the new variant. Officials briefed Prime Minister Modi on the new 'Omicron' Variant of Concern, as well as its characteristics and impact in different countries. India's ramifications were also explored.
Fears that a new, rapidly spreading coronavirus variety could be even more harmful than the Delta variant spurred numerous countries to implement travel restrictions from impacted areas, causing financial markets throughout the world to plummet.
The Indian government had earlier asked for strict screening of passengers from the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, and Singapore on Thursday. Hong Kong and Israel were added later to the list of ‘at-risk countries. Centre instructed the state governments to ensure ‘rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers landing in India from ‘at risk’ countries.
The facts we know so far: