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Kerala witnessing third wave due to Omicron variant, next 3 weeks crucial: Health minister

Warns of strict action against those spreading false information about pandemic

A man looks out from a COVID-19 ward in the Government Medical College Hospital at Manjeri in Malappuram district of Kerala | Reuters A COVID-19 ward in the Government Medical College Hospital at Manjeri in Malappuram district of Kerala | Reuters

Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Wednesday said that the state is witnessing the third wave of Covid-19, with the Omicron variant causing surge in cases. She cautioned people against the "super-spread" of the pandemic and said that the next three weeks would be crucial for the state.

Though its severity is lesser, Omicron variant has the potential to spread the disease five-six times more than the Delta variant and so it should not be taken lightly, she said. The minister also warned of stringent action against those unleashing false propaganda regarding the pandemic and vaccination through social media platforms. Stating that some people are spreading lies like Omicron is a "natural vaccine" and so it was not dangerous to contract the infection, she said such campaigns were baseless.

Whatever be the variant, the basic characteristics of the novel coronavirus were the same and people should take extra care to keep the disease at bay, the minister said.

"Delta (variant) was the reason for more cases during the second wave. The third wave happened before it was completely over. Now, both Delta and Omicron are contributing to the surge in COVID cases," Veena said.

Officials should take special precaution to avoid cluster formations in their respective institutions. Urging people to avoid unnecessary hospital visits, she said aged people and those having co-morbidities should take more care. She advised people to wear N-95 masks or double masks for better results.

About 99.8 per cent of people, above the age of 18 years, were already given the first dose of vaccine and 83 per cent of them given the second dose. Besides this, vaccination among children stood at 57 per cent, she added.

-with PTI inputs


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