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Updated 20 July 2022

Centaurus, the Omicron subvariant has been viral across the internet and has caused widespread concern due to the high-transmissible of Omicron. This subvariant was first detected in India in May, but it is believed that it has grown stronger and could even be more transmissible than the other variants before it.

How will the Centaurus subvariant affect travel in India? Has the new subvariant been detected in India yet? Here’s everything we know so far about the subvariant in India.

BA.2.75 — What is the Centaurus variant?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Centaurus is an Omicron subvariant that is believed to have undergone a mutation that might have been a “major immune escape”, which means it could be as highly mutated as the Omicron variant.

The statistics also demonstrate that rapidly spreading sub-variants of Omicron, such as Centaurus, are to blame for the rise in positive COVID-19 cases, even though the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control currently lists it as a “variant under monitoring” rather than a “variant of concern”.

However, Centaurus is not the official nickname of the subvariant BA.2.75. Global health authorities were not involved in giving a name. The WHO, which is in charge of the process, chose Omicron and declined to offer a different term for a sub-variant. The WHO is still referring to it as Omicron for the time being since it is a descendant of Omicron, although having some extra mutations.

Where has the Centaurus variant been detected?

The Centaurus sub-variant was first detected in India in May. Up until now, it has been detected in several countries such as Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Russia, and South Korea.

What are the symptoms of the Centaurus variant?

According to research so far, the Centaurus sub-variant exhibits many of the same symptoms as the earlier variants. Although, an app called ZOE which asks its users to track the symptoms of COVID-19 records that headache is the most-reported symptom.

The NHS continues to recommend everyone keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • A high temperature or shivering (chills)
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • An aching body
  • A headache
  • A sore throat
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick

What are the risks associated with the Centaurus variant?

It is still too early to say whether BA.2.75 or Centaurus subvariant indicates the start of the following dominant branch of SARS-CoV-2 because there is no indication yet that it is more severe. Experimental research is required to confirm any potential immunity-elimination abilities, and epidemiological data are required to determine whether it will have a significant influence on public health.

Its appearance is yet another illustration of the SARS-CoV-2’s remarkable ability to adapt, as well as a warning that new variations and subvariants will continue to appear as long as several people remain sick.

Centaurus variant in India

The Centaurus subvariant case was first reported in India at the beginning of May 2022 and has spread rapidly throughout the country as well as the other nations since then.

However, so far, the health authorities of India haven’t announced any special warnings for Centaurus subvariant. In other words, the travel restrictions still remain the same.

According to the latest guidelines, all travellers arriving in India, irrespective of their nationality and vaccination status, should follow the given guidelines:

  • Submit complete and factual information in self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel, including the last 14 days of travel details.
  • Upload any of the two documents:
    • A negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey
    • Certificate of completing full primary vaccination schedule of COVID-19 vaccination. (Only some eligible countries)
  • Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise.
  • Passengers should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority regarding any post-arrival requirement to undergo home/institutional quarantine/ self-health monitoring, as warranted.

Please note that the travellers from countries that provide quarantine-free entry to Indians will ONLY be allowed to upload their Covid-19 vaccination certificate, instead of the RT-PCR negative test report. Currently, there are 130 countries eligible for this requirement. You can get a full list of the eligible countries from here.

You can check the latest state-wise quarantine regulations from here. Alternatively, for more details regarding the travel restrictions and requirements in India, please refer to the article below:

India PCR Test Entry Requirements: All You Need to Know About Testing For Travel to India

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