The World Health Organisation had classified the variant (B.1.1.529) as a 'variant of concern' last week. On Monday, the WHO said the variant poses "very high" global risk.
Addressing a question on Omicron, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, "This new variant has been found in 14 countries. There is no case of Omicron in India yet. We are taking all possible precautions and doing genome sequencing as well."
Genome sequencing enables scientists to isolate the viral material from a Covid swab sample, identify the RNA and determine its composition. Hence, they are able to identify the exact variant of coronavirus that an individual may be infected with.
On the general Covid-19 situation in India, Mansukh Mandaviya said, 'It is under control but Covid-19 has not gone away. 124 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far."