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“Stop Flights From Countries Hit By New Variant”: Arvind Kejriwal To PM

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called meeting on Monday (File)

New Delhi:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop all flights from countries reporting cases of the novel strain of coronavirus – B.1.1.529, or Omicron.

“I urge the Honorable PM to stop flights from countries affected by the new variant. With great difficulty, our country recovered from Corona. We must do everything possible to prevent this new variant from entering in India, “Kejriwal tweeted on Saturday morning.

Mr Kejriwal tweeted yesterday that he had called a meeting of medical and scientific experts on Monday in light of “the threat of (the) new variant of Covid from African countries”.

These experts, he said, will make a presentation to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), he said, to suggest measures to protect the national capital from the B.1.1.529 strain.

“Given the threat of (the) new variant of COVID-19 from African countries, we asked experts to make a presentation to the DDMA on Monday and suggest the actions we should take. We will take all necessary measures to protect you and your family, ”the Chief Minister tweeted.

The Prime Minister is chairing a meeting this morning with senior officials to take stock of the Covid situation.

The center last night said scheduled international passenger flights to and from India would be allowed to return to pre-Covid frequencies from December 15.

Services to certain “at risk” countries, however, remain restricted. These include the UK and other European countries, South Africa, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.

The government has also called on states and Union territories to conduct stringent screening of passengers arriving from countries reporting the Omicron strain.

Several countries have already stopped or restricted flights to and from southern African countries. These include the United Kingdom, the United States and Israel, as well as some countries in continental Europe.

WHO has called for caution and advocated a “scientific and risk-based approach”.

The Omicron strain was first detected in South Africa this week and has since been reported in Botswana, Israel, Hong Kong and Belgium, raising fears of a new wave of infections.

The strain B.1.1.529 has been identified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has renamed it Omicron. The “worrying variant” label places it in the high alert category, with Delta dominating globally, along with its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

Omicron is believed to have 50 mutations (many more than any other variant known to date), with over 30 on the spike protein and 10 on the receptor binding domain. Researchers are still trying to confirm whether this makes it more transmissible or deadly than previous variants, and whether existing vaccines can protect against the strain.

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