COVID-19: 2 more Omicron cases in Maharashtra; tally reaches 23
India reported two more COVID-19 cases involving the Omicron variant of coronavirus, taking the tally to 23. The latest cases were reported from Maharashtra's Mumbai, the first for the city. A 37-year-old who returned from Johannesburg, South Africa on November 25 tested positive for Omicron along with his 36-year-old friend, who returned from the United States on November 25.
Why does this story matter?
Omicron is said to be the most heavily mutated strain of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and is likely more transmissible compared to other variants. The strain has caused global panic and has triggered restrictions on international travel. The new variant has emerged at a time when India's COVID-19 outbreak was stabilizing. India reported 8.3K new COVID-19 cases on Monday.
Both patients received Pfizer shot; no symptoms
Both patients have been admitted to the Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai, the Maharashtra health department said. They had been vaccinated with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine and have no symptoms, it said. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is tracing their contacts. Five high-risk and 315 low-risk contacts have been identified. Maharashtra has 10 cases of Omicron now, including six in Pimpri-Chinchwad and one in Pune.
Which other states have reported Omicron cases?
Karnataka had reported India's first Omicron cases: a 46-year-old doctor from Bengaluru and a 66-year-old South African national who has since left India. Since then, Omicron cases have been reported in Rajasthan (nine), Gujarat (one), and Delhi (one).
India added 8.3K cases, 8.8K recoveries
According to the Union Health Ministry, India reported a total of 3,46,41,561 COVID-19 cases till Monday morning. The death toll reached 4,73,537. With 8,834 fresh discharges, India's recoveries stand at 3,40,69,608. In the past 24 hours, 8,306 new cases and 211 fresh fatalities were reported. The weekly positivity rate was recorded at 0.78%, while the daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.94%.
India's second wave peaked on May 7
India's second wave peaked on May 7, when 4.14 lakh single-day cases were reported, over four times the number of cases reported during the first wave in mid-September 2020. Although infections have declined since the second wave peaked, India crossed the three crore-mark on June 23. India had crossed the one crore-mark on December 19, 2020, and the 2 crore-mark on May 4, 2021.
Kerala adds most new cases
Maharashtra reported 1,638 new COVID-19 cases along with 2,791 more recoveries. Kerala, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 4,450 new cases and 4,606 discharges. The third worst-hit Karnataka added 456 new cases and 330 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 724 new cases and 743 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 154 new cases and 177 recoveries.