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Omicron less pathogenic than delta, beta variants, quarantining not justified: Military policy for testing, quarantine in defence forces

New Delhi (India), January 10 (ANI): Amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, the top most medical authority in defence forces has come out with a policy on testing and quarantine in services which says that the infection caused Omicron variant of coronavirus is less pathogenic than the delta and beta variants of the virus.

The policy which is now implemented in all the three defence forces and the Indian Coast Guard stated that people have additional protection from the infection due to either from vaccination or having been infected naturally with the disease.

“Infection caused by Omicron variant is primarily an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (Several studies have conclusively proven the high viral load only in upper airways and very low viral multiplication in lung tissue) which is corroborated by the large numbers of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases,” said the policy issued by the Directorate General of Armed Forces Medical Services headed by Vice Admiral, Rajat Datta.

“The virus is inherently less pathogenic compared to the Delta and Beta variants; additional protection is conferred by immunity (either due to natural infection or vaccine-induced). Taking into cognizance the aforesaid, quarantining is not justified,” the policy said.

Observing that due to the “extremely high transmissibility” of the Omicron variant, the policy stated that it is very likely that infected persons within quarantine facilities of defence forces would transmit the virus among non-infected personnel during the quarantine period leading to cluster outbreaks at quarantine centres.

“This has also been the experience in both the first and second waves of the pandemic where significant cluster outbreaks were recorded at quarantine centres across the Armed Forces,” it stated.

The policy issued by the DGAFMS said, “In view of the aforesaid, it is recommended that travel-related quarantine in the defence forces would be “an exception rather than a rule and will be applicable only to specific service conditions where sudden manpower depletion could have a direct bearing on operational aspects.”

On testing of personnel for infection, the policy stated that “Asymptomatic personnel should not be subject to testing which includes personnel returning from leave, those identified as part of contact tracing and asymptomatic household contacts.”

The policy said that in the prevailing conditions rampant community transmission of the virus, “the role of contact tracing has lost its significance and should only be restricted to specific situations like cluster outbreaks.”

The policy also makes it clear that exit testing on discharge from the hospital is only mandated for those with severe disease.

“Asymptomatic or Mildly symptomatic cases and those with the moderate disease do not require testing for discharge,” it said.

The DGAFMS is the highest medical authority in the three defence forces and has been the main body in the fight against COVID in the armed forces.

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by The Sen Times staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds.
Source: ANI


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