Medical authorities warn of disaster as variant of Omicron discovered in India

India’s first confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Bangalore, the capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. “The Omicron variant has been confirmed by genome sequencing,” reported Lav Agarwal, co-secretary of the Union’s Home Office.

Since then, the Omicron variant has been confirmed in Delhi and other cities. Twelve patients infected with the Omicron variant are hospitalized at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) in Delhi. A senior government official told the Indian express: “A total of six sensitive flights landed in Delhi from Wednesday 10 pm to Thursday 6 am. The passengers came from Paris, Frankfurt, London and Moscow. Four of them tested positive for Covid-19 and were sent for treatment. They will be tested for Omicron.

Health workers set up beds in a ward in preparation for the omicron coronavirus variant at the civil hospital in Ahmedabad, India on Monday, December 6, 2021. (AP Photo / Ajit Solanki)

The government of Karnataka has reported that at least 10 airline passengers gave fake cell phone numbers and then fled after arriving in Bangalore from South Africa, a center of the Omicron outbreak. .

The emergence of the new variant, under conditions where governments at the international level do not take action to eliminate the spread of the virus, threatens a devastating new wave of cases. Already, official data from the Ministry of Health has shown that the total number of COVID-19 cases across India has risen to 34.65 million, while the death toll stands at nearly 474,000. These totals are massive underestimates, however, and epidemiological analyzes suggest that well over 4 million people have died from COVID-19 in India. Unless urgent action is taken, these numbers will rise again massively.

In India, medical schools are protesting the shortage of medical staff to handle a looming new wave of critically ill cases and patients. The Federation of Resident Physicians of India, which represents dozens of public hospitals, sent a letter to the Minister of Health, saying: again. “

The letter cautioned, “With the possibility of a future pandemic wave of COVID-19 looming on the horizon, the situation will be dire for the healthcare industry. “

The central and state governments of India, however, indicate that their response is “business as usual”. They reject all aggressive policies of social distancing, shutting down nonessential industries and in-person schooling, and identifying and tracing cases that alone can rule out transmission of the virus.

On December 3, the Economic times has released a statement from the Indian Ministry of Health on the Omicron variant. To a question “what precautions should we take?” he replied: “The same behavior appropriate to Covid as before, which includes face masks, vaccinations, social distancing and maintaining good ventilation.” In fact, even these basic mandatory measures have not been implemented with the seriousness they deserve.

In short, the Modi government and state governments of various political stripes are determined to uphold policies that have already resulted in the deaths of millions of people. While telling people to maintain social distancing, they encouraged mass gatherings, the operation of non-essential industries, the reopening of schools and colleges, the operation of the cinema and public transport with seats in 100% crowded markets and restaurants. Sporting events such as cricket matches with large crowds are permitted. The monsoon season will make this situation worse.

A chilling sign of the catastrophic impact of the BJP’s handling of the pandemic was the discovery last month of rotting corpses in a Bengalore hospital, 15 months after their deaths. According to Chronicle of the Deccan, “Both patients were admitted to Rajajinagar hospital with coronavirus in June 2020 and died a few days later the following month.” The corpses were noticed when workers entered the old mortuary on November 26 to clean it up. They noticed a foul smell coming from the freezers and found the bodies.

The emergence of the more vaccine resistant Omicron variant exposes the fraudulent arguments of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian state governments of various political stains that vaccinations will make the pandemic go away. The WSWS noted “three bad reasons” why capitalist governments have advocated a “vaccine-only approach” to the COVID-19 pandemic.

[BEGIN INDENT]First, it is fully in line with the economic interests of the corporate and financial elite by supposedly taking aggressive and unnecessary public health measures that would infringe on corporate profits.

Second, it is essentially a national solution, which could ultimately be used as a tool to strengthen the position of the American ruling class vis-à-vis its main geostrategic rivals.

Third, it is a pragmatically simplistic and individualistic approach that does not require a broad and coordinated social response to the pandemic.[END INDENT]

The Modi government authorized the deaths of millions of people in early 2021, but reassured the public that vaccine development would end the suffering. He has promoted the Covaxin and covidSHIELD vaccines, boasting of having administered 1.25 billion doses of the vaccine globally.

However, this vaccination strategy in itself has failed massively. According to medical experts, India still needs more than 12 million doses per day to fully immunize all eligible adults by the end of 2021. Health economist Dr Rijo M. John said told the BBC that there were also around 70 million additional “vulnerable” adults. over the age of 45 who have not yet received even a single dose. Only 32% of India’s 1.4 billion people have received two injections, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.

The emergence of the Omicron variant, threatening to elude all existing vaccines, has definitely exposed the bankruptcy of Modi’s strategy. He confirmed repeated warnings from scientists that the massive circulation of the virus combined with slow absorption of vaccines would lead to dangerous and resistant variants of the vaccines.

Dr Shahid Jameel, leading virologist and member of OCIS and Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, said: “Areas of the world that are poorly vaccinated are likely breeding grounds for new variants. Countries lacking the necessary resources should be supported. The world needs better access to vaccines and better equity. This should be a wake-up call to the world, especially the developed countries. “

Dr Satyajit Rath, immunologist at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, said: virus pool size.

Rath also sharply criticized the imperialist powers for their role in creating a global vaccine shortage and blocking ex-colonial countries’ access to vaccines. Vaccine inequality, he said, is “driven by a global manufacturing deficit and vaccine nationalism, leading to an inequitable global vaccine supply. The first is motivated, in part, by lucrative considerations, while the second is motivated by xenophobic ideologies. “

The contempt for the lives of millions of people revealed by the “profit before life” policy of the Indian bourgeoisie is provoking growing opposition from workers, scientists and medical experts.

In April, prominent Indian scientists signed an open letter to Modi, accusing India’s dire toll during the pandemic of “epidemiological data is not systematically collected and published.” Furthermore, they argued, even though the Indian Council of Medical Research has collected data from COVID-19 diagnostic tests since the start of the pandemic, it refuses to make this data accessible except to a few government officials. .

Certified Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers at India’s National Rural Health Mission are threatening to strike across the country this month. ASHA workers have been going door-to-door in remote areas of the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, urging people to get vaccinated. The vast majority of these impoverished workers, paid around US $ 40 per month, are deprived of personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, masks and disinfectants.

The critical task is the building of a movement in the working class across India and the international struggle for a scientifically guided policy eliminating the spread of all variants of COVID-19.

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