Also, the government will send only a limited number of all samples for genome sequencing, they said.
”The number of new cases has crossed the 1,000-mark and 54 per cent of them have the Omicron variant. This number is going to rise in the next few days. And, we have seen that most Omicron patients do not require hospitalisation — they are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. They do not need medical care in hospitals,” a senior government official said.
”Hospital care is for the sick. If they are sick, we will take them to the hospital; if not, why (take them to the) hospital. So isolating Omicron patients, who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, at home is the natural corollary,” he said.
Similarly, genome sequencing labs have a limited capacity. They can sequence 50 to 100 samples a day, but cases are now in thousands, the official said.
Accordingly, up to 5 per cent of the total samples will be sent for genome sequencing as per the directions of the Government of India, he said.
The government had earlier ordered genome sequencing of samples of all Covid-infected people in Delhi to ascertain if the Omicron variant has spread in the community.
Labs in the national capital can sequence 400 to 500 samples daily.
The Delhi government-run labs at the Lok Nayak Hospital and the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences can sequence 100 samples each day. Two Centre-run labs in Delhi can sequence 200-300 samples a day.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said Omicron is gradually spreading in the community and the new, fast-spreading variant of concern has been found in 54 per cent of the latest samples analysed in the national capital.
”The latest genome sequencing report showed 54 per cent of the cases have Omicron. These people include those who do not have any travel history. It means Omicron is now inside Delhi,” he said.
”Indeed, the variant is gradually spreading in the community and its proportion will increase in the coming days,” the minister said when asked if Omicron will be the dominant variant in an imminent third wave of the pandemic.