Omicron Cases In India Surge To 143 As Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala Report Fresh Infections

New Delhi: Omicron cases in India rose to 143 on Saturday after Karnataka and Kerala reported six and four cases respectively, while eight more persons in Maharashtra tested positive for the Coronavirus variant.

Additionally, in Telangana, the number of Omicron cases rose to 20 with 12 more people testing positive for the new coronavirus variant on Saturday, news agency PTI reported.

According to central and state officials, omicron cases have been detected in 11 states and union territories — Maharashtra (48), Delhi (22), Rajasthan (17) and Karnataka (14), Telangana (20), Gujarat (7), Kerala (11), Andhra Pradesh (1), Chandigarh (1), Tamil Nadu (1) and West Bengal (1).

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New cases In Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka & Kerala

A state health department bulletin informed that of the 12 new cases in Telangana, two were passengers from countries declared “at risk” by the Centre, while 10 came from other nations.

The samples of three persons are awaited for their Omicron variant status, it informed.

Meanwhile in Maharashtra, a couple and their 13-year-old daughter tested positive for the Omicron variant after returning to Satara from Uganda. Their other daughter, who is five years old, tested positive for COVID-19 but not for the variant.

As per officials, four cases among the eight new Omicron patients were detected following RT-PCR tests at the Mumbai airport. One of them is from Mumbai, another is from Jalgaon in north Maharashtra and other two from Chhattisgarh and Kerala, respectively.

Two of them had traveled to Africa, one to Tanzania while another had been to the UK. All four are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, PTI reported health officials as saying.

Another new Omicron patient was a 17-year-old girl from Pune city who had come into close contact with an international traveler.

Among the six new cases in Karnataka, one is a passenger from the UK, while five others are from COVID-19 clusters in two educational institutions in Dakshina Kannada district.

Their travel history or contact with the international travelers are being ascertained, officials said, as reported by PTI.

“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 traveler from UK has also tested positive for Omicron,” Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar informed in a tweet.

In Kerala, two cases of the new Coronavirus variant were detected from Thiruvananthapuram in patients aged 17 and 44, while one case was detected in Malappuram in a person aged 37 and another was a 49-year-old patient from Thrissur district.

“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,” Health Minister Veena George informed in a release.

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Center Advices To Avoid Non-Essential Travel

The Center has warned that it is likely the spread of the new variant will outpace the Delta variant where there is community transmission.

People have been advised to avoid non-essential travel and mass gatherings and keep New Year celebrations at low intensity.

India’s first two cases of Omicron variant were detected in Karnataka on December 2, soon after the heavily mutated version of the coronavirus was first reported in South Africa on November 24.

In a concerning development, Delhi on Saturday recorded 86 fresh COVID-19 news cases, the highest single-day spike in over five months.

The total number of patients infected with the latest variant of coronavirus in Delhi had jumped by 12 on Friday to reach 22.

Amid this COVID situation, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday assured the people that his government is ready to tackle the Omicron variant and advised citizens not to panic.

Other states too have stated that they were making preparations to deal with a possible rise in Omicron cases.

Odisha has arranged for an adequate number of hospital beds, medical oxygen and medicines to deal with any emergency, state Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra informed.

“No one can rule out the possibility of the third wave of COVID-19 with increasing Omicron cases. We are well prepared to tackle the situation,” the official said.

Odisha has not recorded any case of Omicron so far, however, neighboring Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have reported the infections.

WHO Stresses On Urgent Scale-Up Of Public Health And Social Measures

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization on Saturday emphasized urgent scale-up of public health and social measures to curtail the further spread of the Omicron variant.

Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region said: “From what we know so far, Omicron appears to spread faster than the Delta variant which has been attributed to the surge in cases across the world in the last several months” .

Emerging data from South Africa suggests an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, she added, saying that there is still limited data on the clinical severity associated with Omicron.

She stressed that health care capacity including ICU beds, oxygen availability, adequate health care staff and surge capacity needs to be reviewed and strengthened at all levels.

(With Agency Inputs)

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