oppn parties Omicron Spooks Stock Markets Worldwide

News Snippets

  • Bengal starts paying MNREGA workers out of own funds as Central disbursement is stopped due to alleged 'discrepancies' in accounts
  • ISC chemistry paper postponed to March 21 just hours before start of exam due to "unforeseen circumstances"
  • Ghajal legend Pankaj Udhas passes away. he was 72
  • Calcutta HC says that there is no stay on arresting TMC leader Shahjahan and he should be arrested immediately
  • With latest data showing big fall in consumption of food and cereal, the government might rejig retail inflation data
  • Stock markets go down on Monday: Sensex loses 352 points to 72790 and Nifty 90 points to 22122
  • Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma steps down as chairman of Paytm Payments Bank
  • Rohit Sharma says only players with hunger to perform in Tests will be given chances, issuing a stern warning for those who play truant
  • Fourth Test: Shubman Gill (52 no) and Dhruv Jurel (39no) take India home after they slumped to 120/5
  • Fourth Test: India win by 5 wickets to claim series 3-1 with one Test remaining
  • UK writer Prof Nitasha Kaul, who was invited by the Congress government in Karnataka for the international conferecne on the Constitution, was detained and deported upon her arrival at Bengaluru airport
  • Haryana INLD chief Nafe Singh Rathee was shot dead in Bahadurgarh in the state after his car was ambushed and sprayed with bullets by suspected gangsters
  • After the Congress left late Ahmad Patel's fief Bharuch in Gujarat for the AAP, his son Faisal Patel has revolted and said that he will contest from the seat
  • BSP implodes as MP Ritesh Pandey joins BJP with 3 more MPS eyeing a switch to the BJP, 2 looking to join the Congress and 1 RLD
  • PM Modi inaugurates Sudarshan Setu, a 2.3km long cable-strayed bridge that connects Okha on the mainland to Beyt Dwarka island in the Arabian Sea off Gujarat coast
India win the Ranchi Test by 5 wickets, take an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series
oppn parties
Omicron Spooks Stock Markets Worldwide

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2021-11-27 15:20:48

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

The B.1.1.529 Covid variant, now named Omicron and classified as a variant of “concern” by the WHO, spooked the stock markets worldwide on Friday as South Africa reported a ten-fold increase in fresh Covid infections in November. Indices in India fell by nearly 3% as the Sensex crashed 1687 points to close at 57107 and the Nifty by 509 points to finish the day at 17026.

The biggest worry is that Omicron is showing that the variant has a huge number of mutations and clusters of mutations. This spells fresh trouble for a world already grappling with the virus for nearly two years now. Even as all countries, including India, were thinking of easing norms for international travel in the wake of falling fresh Covid cases (India reported below 9000 cases on Friday, the lowest in more than 18 months, the discovery of this new variant has thrown a spanner in the works.

The business community is worried that if restrictive measures like national, or even local, lockdowns are once again enforced, demand for goods and services will fall once again and supply chains, showing signs of returning to normal, would once again be thrown out of gear. It has taken nearly one year for the economy to limp back to normalcy. Any disruption at this stage would be disastrous.

But governments all over the world cannot take risks. India suffered immensely when the second wave struck due to premature celebration for having warded off the Covid threat and a consequent lowering of the guard. This time the country should not be caught napping. We are likely to miss the vaccination target for giving at least the first dose to the eligible adult population. Hence, all Covid protocols must now be followed with strictness.

The Prime Minister has already asked officials to review their decision to ease international travel restrictions. He has also called for a greater number of samples to be sent for genome sequencing. In the last couple of months, testing has come down drastically in India. It needs to be done on earlier levels again. The vaccination drive must also pick up pace and the Har Ghar Dastak (or door-to-door campaign to vaccinate people) drive must also be strengthened. If people are not coming forward to get jabbed, they must be given the jab at their home as vaccination remains the best shield against the virus. Any laxity is going to spell disaster for the Indian economy.