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 - Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

Omicron: Indian Politicians Urge PM Modi to Ban Flights From Affected Countries Amid COVID Scare

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the gathering during the foundation stone laying ceremony of Noida International Airport in Jewar, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the gathering during the foundation stone laying ceremony of Noida International Airport in Jewar, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.11.2021
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday named the new strain of coronavirus "B.1.1.529", Omicron. The latter has been classified as a "variant of concern", posing a greater risk than the globally dominant Delta variant.
Amid the scare of the Omicron variant of coronavirus which has started to spread across the globe, with cases being registered in Botswana, Hong Kong, Belgium, and Israel, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for an emergency meeting with top state chiefs to discuss measures to prevent the third wave of COVID-19 in the country.
Delhi state chief Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took to Twitter and made an appeal to PM Modi to immediately stop flights from those countries affected by the new variant of coronavirus.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar also announced that those returning from South Africa will be quarantined upon arrival in the city and genome sequencing of passengers' samples arriving from the country will be done if any person is found positive for COVID-19.
"There are concerns in Mumbai about the new variant of coronavirus. Genome sequencing of (positive) passengers coming from South Africa will be done. There is no restriction on outbound flights in any way. But this decision has been taken keeping in view past experience", Pednekar told the Indian media on Saturday.
India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday added several nations to the list that will now require rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong, and Botswana.
On Saturday, India recorded as many as 8,318 new COVID cases, 10,967 recoveries, and 465 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.
India's total COVID tally stands at 34.5 million and the active cases in the country rose to 107,019.
The total recoveries reached 33.9 million as 10,967 discharges were witnessed in the last 24 hours.
The recovery rate is currently at 98.34%, the highest since March 2020. Meanwhile, total COVID-related fatalities have reached 467,933. Overall, 1.21 billion vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far.
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