Explained: What is India’s COVID-19 “R naught” value
New Delhi, Dec 31: India's "R naught" value, which indicates the spread of coronavirus, is 1.22, the government said today, warning that cases are increasing, as it highlighted that Maharashtra, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Karnataka, and Gujarat are emerging as states and UTs of concern on the basis of weekly infections and positivity rate.
Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul said there has been an uptick in coronavirus cases over the last few days and some states are showing an upward trend, PTI reported.
India recorded the highest single-day rise of Omicron infections with 180 fresh cases, taking the total tally of the infections in the country to 961, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated today.
Delhi recorded the maximum number of 263 cases followed by Maharashtra at 252, Gujarat 97, Rajasthan 69, Kerala 65, and Telangana 62.
The daily rise in Covid cases crossed the 13,000-mark after around 49 days, taking the total tally to 3,48,22,040, while the active cases increased to 82,402, according to the data updated at 8 am.
"We believe on the scientific basis R naught is 1.22 as per the available data... so the cases are now increasing, not shrinking. As the scenario emerges, we believe what we are witnessing could be part of the global rise in cases pushed by the Omicron variant... we are already aware that this variant is highly transmissible, and that perhaps explains the speed with which it is rising in the world.
"As we have explained, the severity issues are answered and we quote WHO statement - severity (is) hopefully mild but cannot be taken for granted. This is work in progress," he said.
He, however, urged people not to panic, saying, "As a nation we are prepared. As a nation, we have experience and the massive shield of very high coverage of the vaccine. I repeat there's no need to panic. But there is a need to be prepared, to be responsible and disciplined."
Several state governments have taken appropriate measures, he said, adding that all variants enter through the same route and it can be blocked by wearing a mask.
Stating that India reported more than 10,000 daily new Covid cases after 33 days, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal stressed the need for heightened vigil given the sharp increase in the infections.
Eight districts in India are reporting more than 10 per cent weekly positivity rate, while 14 districts are reporting a weekly positivity between 5 per cent and 10 per cent, Agarwal said.
Quoting the WHO, he said consistent evidence shows that the Omicron variant has a growth advantage over Delta, with a doubling time of 2-3 days. A rapid increase in the incidence of cases has been seen in a number of countries, including those where the variant has become the dominant one, such as the UK and the US.