Srinagar, Dec 22 : With Jammu Omicron cases having no travel history or contact with any positive case of the new variant, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said this could be an indication of possible community spread of the new variant.
“It is possible these cases could be an instance of community spread of Omicron,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).
The DAK President said the first three cases of Omicron variant of Covid-19 were reported yesterday from Talab Tillo and Bantalab areas of Jammu province. “All the three cases have no history of foreign travel or exposure to any person infected with the variant,” he said.
“This gives us the understanding that these cases might have contracted the infection from the community exposure,” Dr Hassan said.
He said these cases are significant as they mean that the infection might be spreading untraced in the community,” he said. “This could indicate the beginning of community transmission,” said Dr Nisar.
He said community transmission means when a person contracts the virus from an unknown source. The individual picks up the infection without having traveled to countries where the virus is circulating or having been in contact with a confirmed case.
“A state of community transmission implies that the virus is in the community and it is possible for everyone in the community to catch the infection,” he added.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said there may be many more cases than just a few that have been confirmed. “To pick them up we need to expand genome sequencing. If we don’t expand genetic testing, how can we say there is no community spread,” he said.
Spokesperson DAK Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dagga said travel history alone should not be the deciding factor for sequencing the samples “we need to shift our focus from a predominantly target testing to community testing as that would determine the actual burden of community transmission and would allow us to implement informed containment strategies,” he said
“Omicron variant is at Community transmission stage in Countries like UK, South Africa and US. Cases have erupted in Karnataka, Delhi, and Maharashtra where source of infection has not been traced which raises fears of community spread in India too,” he added—(KNO)