Maharashtra registers seven new Omicron cases, 3 from Mumbai

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Maharashtra on Friday detected seven new Covid-19 cases of the Omicron variant, pushing the state’s tally to 17. Of the seven cases, three were detected in Mumbai including one in Dharavi. The remaining four cases are from Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune district. Of the 17 found so far, six Omicron infected patients in the state have tested negative for Covid-19, and have been discharged, health department officials said.

With the new cases in Mumbai, the total number of cases of the Omicron variant rose to five in the city. According to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the newly infected patients are men of 25, 37 and 48 years of age. The 25-year-old returned to Mumbai from London on December 1, while the 37 and 48-year-old patients returned to Mumbai from South Africa and Tanzania, respectively, on December 4. All three patients are admitted at Seven Hills Hospital in Marol area of Andheri.

Dr Mangla Gomare, executive health officer, BMC, said that besides the 25-year-old, the remaining two patients are not residents of Mumbai. “The 25-year-old is a resident of South Mumbai, the 48-year-old is a Chennai resident who had come to Mumbai’s Dharavi for professional work, while the 37-year-old is a resident of Gujarat,” Gomare said.

After the reports of the patients came out positive in the RT-PCR tests taken by them on arrival at the airport, the samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), the report of which came on Friday.

The BMC also added that the 25 and 37-year-old patients were fully vaccinated, and the 37-year-old has mild symptoms, while the remaining patients are asymptomatic. The 37-year-old was admitted to the hospital by the airport authorities as a precautionary measure while the remaining two patients were hospitalised after their reports turned out to be positive.

Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner said that the Tanzania returnee who went to Dharavi had to take a compulsory test at the airport as he was not vaccinated. “The patient was asked to wait at the airport till reports came, however, he left for Dharavi in the evening and the RT-PCR report came out to be positive. Following which, the local ward office (G/North) tracked the patient and the sample was sent for genome sequencing,” Dighavkar said. Dharavi, a densely populated slum of at least 850,000 people with a population density of 354,167 per square km, was a hotspot of Covid-19 infections in the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020.

BMC officials said that the high-risk contacts of all three patients have been tracked and tested, and none of them have tested positive.

According to the health department, the four new cases in Pimpri-Chinchwad are contacts of a Nigerian national (of Indian origin), who was detected with the Omicron strain of the virus on December 5. The 44-year-old-woman, along with her two daughters had come to Pimpri-Chinchwad on November 24 to meet her brother.

“Out of seven patients found today, four have been vaccinated. One patient has received a single dose of the vaccine, while one patient has not been vaccinated. One of the patients is a three-and-a-half-year-old so not eligible for vaccination. Four patients are asymptomatic while three patients have mild symptoms,” a statement from the health department said.

Since December 1, 61,439 passengers, including 9,678 passengers from at-risk countries, have arrived at airports in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. The state has found 20 Covid-19 positive cases of people from at-risk countries and five from other countries. Field surveillance is underway of all international passengers who arrived since November 1. Through the airport and field surveillance, 89 samples have been sent for genomic sequencing. Results of 47 are awaited so far, the health department said.

Maharashtra on Friday added 695 fresh Covid-19 infections, pushing the state’s tally to 6,642,372. It reported 12 deaths, taking the death toll to 141,223. Mumbai added 194 new Covid-19 infections, and added one fatality. The active case count in the state stood at 6,534.

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