WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan and other experts from the World Health Organisation has warned the Tamil Nadu Health Department against the possibility of a sudden surge in Omicron cases in the state following inadequate vaccines and lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour in the festival season.
In a virtual review meeting with the Chief Minister, Health Minister and Health Department officials, Swaminathan warned that the variant may not give health providers time to prepare. The Omicron variant has a high transmission rate and evades antibodies and immunity, the WHO Chief Scientist said, while also recommending that the government be prepared with more beds, oxygen cylinders, drugs and testing kits.
J Radhakrishnan, the state's Health Secretary, urged the public to celebrate Christmas, New Year and Pongal in a subdued manner and to try to have virtual celebrations and online darshans instead of physical visits.
However, the state government will not impose any fresh restrictions. Instead, the existing curbs will continue till December 31.