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More Omicron cases reported in India, Home Secretary reviews preparedness in UTs

Four more passengers arriving in the Indian capital were confirmed to be infected with Omicron virus on Thursday, taking the total number of cases in the city to 10, officials said on Thursday.

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New Delhi: More Omicron cases were reported from different parts of the country on Thursday, with four being reported from the national capital, as the government continued monitoring of the situation and the Home Secretary held a review meeting. 

Four more passengers arriving in the Indian capital were confirmed to be infected with Omicron virus on Thursday, taking the total number of cases in the city to 10, officials said on Thursday.

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One case was reported from Tamil Nadu, and one was reported in Gujarat, while a seven-year-old boy, who was infected with suspected Omicron, was found negative on Thursday. 

In Delhi, Dr Sunil Kumar, Medical Director, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, told UNI that the cases were admitted at the hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport last week.

Genome sequencing of their samples confirmed the presence of Omicron.

“Two male and two female patients who were admitted to our facility have now been confirmed with the Omicron variant. The patients are young and fully vaccinated. All of them are asymptomatic to the disease so far,” Dr Kumar said.

He said all the people flew in separately from Omicron affected regions. “Patients came differently from South Africa, Sweden, England and Dubai.”

Earlier, four cases were detected in Delhi on Tuesday.

Kumar said one Omicron patient was discharged this week. “A total of nine patients are getting treatment in our facility,” he added.

A fully vaccinated woman with no travel history meanwhile tested positive for the new coronavirus variant in Gujarat’s Mehsana district. The woman is an ASHA worker, reports said. 

In Tamil Nadu, a 47-year-old male passenger, who arrived here from Nigeria via Doha, tested positive for Omicron variant, becoming the first case in the state. 

Talking to reporters here last night, Health Minister Ma.Subramanian said Tamil Nadu reported the first case of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 after whole genome sequencing of the sample of the man tested positive.

The genome sequencing results of the samples of six of his family members and a co-passenger, who travelled with him, are awaited.

Meanwhile, the seven-year-old boy, who was infected with suspected Omicron, was found negative on Thursday after a Covid-19 test, Malda district health chief Papri Nayak said.

The boy, who was kept in an isolation ward at Malda medical college and hospital, was under observation and is likely to be released after the authorities give clean chit.

The boy’s father and elder sister, who are also admitted in the same hospital, were also found negative after their Covid tests

Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) Director Dr. Vinay K. Nandicoori has said that Scientists’ preliminary experiments suggested that protection due to prior vaccination is relatively lower for Omicron compared with the Delta variant

Based on the evaluation of mutations, there are specific sorts of hypotheses on transmissibility and immune escape, he said the data emerging from South Africa suggests that the severity of infection is relatively low compared with the Delta.  

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Thursday chaired a meeting along with to review Covid-19 situation in Union Territories. Preparedness of health infrastructure of all UTs to deal with COVID-19 was also reviewed, the Home Ministry said.

India has over 70 cases of Omicron so far. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of Omicron cases at 32. Security has been tightened in the state and section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in Mumbai up to midnight on New Year’s eve, in wake of rising cases in the state. 

Rajasthan has reported at least 17 cases, Karnataka has reported 3 cases, Gujarat has 5 cases; Telangana (2), Andhra Pradesh (1), Tamil Nadu (1) and Union Territories of Delhi (10) and Chandigarh (1). 

India’s Active caseload of the Covid-19 currently stands at 87,245, the Health Ministry said. So far, 135.25 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive, while 66.02 crore Total Tests conducted so far.

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