Dr Swaminathan called for evidence-based public health measures, while noting that entertainment venues did have greater scope for the virus to spread, thereby warranting some restrictions.

WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan, who said there no science behind night curfews in IndiaFile Photo/IANS
news Coronavirus Friday, December 31, 2021 - 18:11

There is no science behind night curfews when it comes to tackling the spread of coronavirus variants, World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan has stressed. In a TV media interview, she said that countries like India must formulate science-based policies for curbing the spread of the virus. "Things like night curfew, there is no science behind it. One has to take evidence-based measures. There is a whole list of public health measures," she told CNBC-TV18.

"Entertainment venues are places where these viruses spread the most. It's natural to bring in some restrictions there," Soumya Swaminathan added. She said that Indians need to be prepared, but not panic.

"What we can expect to see in India is a surge of Omicron cases, I think it is just beginning now in some of the cities and is going to infect a lot of people," the WHO scientist said.

With 309 new cases of highly transmissible coronavirus variant Omicron detected in the last 24 hours, India's Omicron tally on Friday, December 31, rose to 1,270 cases. Of these, a total of 374 have been discharged.

Among the 23 states and Union Territories that have reported the Omicron infection so far, Maharashtra tops the list with 450 cases of this variant. Of them, 125 patients have been discharged as per the Union Health Ministry data.

Delhi has the second highest cases of Omicron infections at 320. Among them, 57 of them have been discharged from the hospital.

In a separate tweet on Friday, December 31, Soumya Swaminathan said: "Hospitalisations are also rising, mostly in unvaccinated people. Though #Omicron may cause less severe disease, a small percentage of a huge number is still very large & can overwhelm health systems".

"Whatever the #covidvariant, #Omicron or #delta - vaccination protects against hospitalisation and death," she added.

Read: Return of the night curfew in NYE week: Experts question rationale

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