Omicron: India reports 38 cases from 6 states, 2 UTs
The number of cases involving the Omicron variant of coronavirus rose to 38 in India with the confirmation of five new infections on Sunday. Chandigarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala reported their first Omicron cases, while Karnataka and Maharashtra added one case each. Notably, all five patients were foreign returnees. Most Omicron cases are concentrated in Maharashtra, which has confirmed 18 cases so far.
- The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly in India, with its tally reaching 38 in just over a week.
- First detected in South Africa, the variant has been found in 63 countries so far.
- Omicron is surpassing the Delta variant in terms of transmission rate, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Omicron is by far the most heavily mutated version of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Chandigarh's health officials said the Omicron infected patient is a 20-year-old fully vaccinated man who had arrived from Italy. The man landed in India on November 22 and is currently in institutional quarantine. While he has tested negative now, his five family contacts have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said. It is yet unclear if the family members were also infected with Omicron.
The first Omicron patient in Andhra Pradesh is a 34-year-old Ireland-returnee who landed in Mumbai and then went to Visakhapatnam on November 27. He first tested negative for COVID-19 upon arrival in Mumbai but later tested positive in Vizianagaram, health officials said. The genome sequencing of his sample confirmed an Omicron infection. The patient remained asymptomatic and tested negative for COVID-19 on December 11.
The patient who tested Omicron positive in Kerala on Sunday is a resident of the state who had recently returned from the United Kingdom, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said. The third Omicron case in Karnataka is a 34-year-old who came back from South Africa. In Maharashtra, a 40-year-old man tested positive after he returned to Nagpur from a West African country.
India's first Omicron cases were detected in Bengaluru when two people—a South African national of Indian origin and a doctor—tested positive for the variant. Since then, Omicron cases have been reported in states like Maharashtra (18), Rajasthan (nine), Karnataka (three), Gujarat (three), Kerala (one), and Andhra Pradesh (one). Two union territories where cases have been detected include Delhi (two) and Chandigarh (one).