New COVID variants in India not worrying for Bhutan – Health Minister    

The Health Minister says the people shouldn’t be worried amid the rise in cases of new COVID variants in India. This is because of the ongoing surveillance system in place and also due to the low COVID infection rate in the country according to the minister. Meanwhile, the fifth dose for elderly citizens above 65 years and people aged 18 and above with comorbidities will be rolled out on Thursday.

With India reporting more than 7000 cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths as of this afternoon, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo says the current variants are not as deadly as those during the peak COVID situation. She also says that the COVID infection rate is below 1 per cent in the country as of now which is not very worrying. However, she urges people to practise COVID preventive measures. Moreover, the minister said there is no chance of imposing another lockdown due to COVID as the variants are now of lower virulence.

Nonetheless, the Health Ministry will start vaccinating the vulnerable group consisting of elderly citizens above 65 years and people aged 18 and above with comorbidities starting this Thursday. People will have to visit the nearest health facility to get the Pfizer jab as it will not be carried out as a campaign.

“The rollout of the vaccination will be health facility-based, where vaccines will be available in district hospitals, regional referral hospitals, cluster hospitals and the national hospital starting the 27th of this month. The vaccine is specific to Omicron BA4 and BA5,” said Dechen Wangmo, Health Minister.

According to the World Health Organisation, the current dominant variant globally is BA.4 and BA.5. The variants have been detected in at least 46 countries so far. Cough and congestion to shortness of breath and low oxygen level are symptoms of these variants.

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