Omicron cases in India rose to 38 after Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh and Kerala reported their first infections and Maharashtra and Karnataka also recorded one each of the latest coronavirus variant on Sunday.
Officials said all the five Omicron patients arrived from foreign countries. Omicron has now been detected in Maharashtra (18), Rajasthan (9), Karnataka (3), Gujarat (3), Kerala (1) and Andhra Pradesh (1) and Union territories of Delhi (2) and Chandigarh (1).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the new Omicron coronavirus strain has been found in 63 countries and will surpass the Delta variant in spreading speed.
The WHO also said it is not clear yet, why the new strain is spreading so fast and that the Omicron variant might reduce the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines. But it is less dangerous than Delta, it added.
Here are key points:
1. According to health officials, a 20-year-old fully vaccinated man who came to Chandigarh from Italy to meet his relatives has tested positive for Omicron. The man landed in India on November 22 and is currently in institutional quarantine.
2. The health department said in a statement issued late Sunday he “has now tested as Covid negative today”, but his five family contacts have tested positive for the virus. It’s not clear if they are also infected with the Omicron variant.
3. His seven high-risk family contacts were put under quarantine and were tested for Covid-19 through the RT-PCR test. “Out of these, five have tested as positive and one as negative. The report of one family member is awaited,” said the statement.
4. A 34-year old foreign traveller, who came from Ireland to Mumbai and then to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, has tested positive for the variant.
5. The Andhra Pradesh health department said the person, who first landed in Mumbai from Ireland, was tested and found negative for Covid-19. He was then allowed to travel onward to Visakhapatnam on November 27.
6. He tested positive in the second RT-PCR test in Vizianagaram and his sample was sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad for genome sequencing and the result came out as Omicron positive. The person, however, did not have any symptoms and a re-test on December 11 showed he was COVID-19 negative.
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7. Kerala health minister Veena George the patient is a resident of the state who recently came from the United Kingdom. The patient’s condition is stable.
8. A 34-year-old man who came back from South Africa became the third person to test positive for the Covid-19 variant in Karnataka. He is in isolation and being treated in a government hospital.
9. A 40-year-old man tested positive after returning to Nagpur in Maharashtra from a West African country, taking the state’s tally of Omicron cases to 18.
10. The Omicron variant was first detected in India in Bengaluru with two people testing positive for it comprising a South African national of Indian origin and a doctor.