India’s Omicron cases at 129 after Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala log new infections


India’s Omicron cases climbed to 129 after 18 new infections related to the new variant were reported from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, according to local officials on Saturday.

The country on Friday logged the highest single-day rise of 24 cases of the new Omicron variant, even as the Centre advised people to avoid non-essential travel and mass gatherings and keep New Year celebrations low key.

In Maharashtra, the state health department said eight more cases of Omicron were detected, which have taken the state’s tally to 48. Four Omicron cases were reported from Mumbai, three from Satara and one case from Pune, the health department said.

Also read | Omicron-driven wave likely to arrive early next year, peak in Feb: Expert panel

In Mumbai, three patients were residents of Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Jalgaon in Maharashtra, while one was a resident of the city.

Karnataka reported six new Omicron cases—five of them were found in educational institutions in Dakshina Kannada and one came back from the United Kingdom—taking the number of such infections in the southern state to 14.

“Two cluster outbreaks of COVID have been reported from two educational institutions in Dakshina Kannada today: Cluster 1: 14 cases (of which 4 are Omicron). Cluster 2: 19 cases (1 is Omicron). A traveller from UK has also tested positive for Omicron,” Karnataka health minister K Sudhakar said in a tweet.

The international passenger from the UK and a 19-year-old from one of the clusters are fully vaccinated and the other four are not.

Also read | Omicron cases doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission

Kerala’s tally of Omicron cases rose to 11 after four fresh infections were detected from Thiruvananthapuram, Malappuram and from the Thrissur district, according to the state health minister Veena George.

“The 17-year-old patient in Thiruvananthapuram came from the UK while the 44-year-old reached the state from Tunisia in a chartered flight. The patient in Malappuram came from Tanzania while the Thrissur native came from Kenya,” George said in a release.

Also read | Experts highlight 1 worrying factor of Omicron, warn of ‘inevitable’ third wave

On Friday, the Centre also warned the spread of Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where there is community transmission.

According to central and state officials, so far Maharashtra has reported 48 cases, Delhi 22, Rajasthan 17, Karnataka 14, Kerala 11, Telangana 8, Gujarat 5, Andhra Pradesh 1, Chandigarh 1, Tamil Nadu 1 and West Bengal 1.

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