Omicron variant
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AIZAWL: Experts in Mizoram believe that Omicron variant to be the main reason behind the rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 even though a case of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant is yet to be confirmed in the state. 

State nodal officer of Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and official spokesperson on COVID-19 Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma said that Omicron variant could be the reason for the high infection rate in Mizoram although Omicron case has not been detected in the northeastern state till now. 

“Our main suspect behind the rapid increase in COVID-19 case is due to Omicron as most patients developed symptoms of the new variant,” he said. 

Pachuau, who is one of the foremost epidemiologists in the state, believed that Omicron variant of COVID-19 has already spread to the state because the results of about 300 samples sent for genome sequencing in December last year and January this year are still awaited. 

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According to him, at least 95 samples were sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in West Bengal’s Kalyani in December and another 224 samples were sent to the same institute in January. 

The official said that the samples sent for genome sequencing in January were highly suspected for Omicron as majority of them were collected from returnees, who tested positive for COVID-19 on their arrival at Lengpui airport in Aizawl. 

He said that Delta variant is still exists alongside Omicron as symptoms of Delta variant were still found in some patients. 

Among other health experts, state health and family welfare Dr ZR Thiamsanga, Zoram Medical College (ZMC) director Dr John Zohmingthanga and Indian Medical Association (IMA) Mizoram state branch vice president Dr Rosangluai held the same opinion with Pachuau and believed Omicron variant to be the reason behind the spike in COVID-19 cases. 

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Dr Rosangluaia, who believed Mizoram has already witnessed the third wave of COVID-19, said most patients these days developed less severe symptoms and loss of smell is less common, which were indicative of Omicron variant. 

The community transmission rate now is not controllable by the imposition of lockdown, he said. 

ZR Thiamsanga believed that negligence to COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour, re-opening of churches and home isolation facility could be other reasons behind the high infection rate besides Omicron variant. 

“It is verified that many people contracted the virus after attending church service, while others got infected from their relatives during home isolation,” he said. 

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Dr John Zohmingthanga said that most patients now a day recovered fast as they developed less severe symptoms. 

However, the COVID-19 variant prevalent in the state now is still dangerous for old age people and people with comorbidities. 

According to him, about 70-80 per cent of COVID-19 victims in the state had comorbidities. 

Mizoram registered a sustained rise in COVID-19 cases since April last year and the situation became worse with the onset of new year with single-day cases crossing 2,000 mark.