With 17 more cases of Omircon being reported across India — nine persons in Jaipur, seven in Pune and a 37-year-old fully vaccinated man who arrived in Delhi from Tanzania — the total number of cases has risen to 21.
Most of those who tested positive for the new variant had either recently arrived from African countries or were in contact with such people. With this, four States and the national capital have now reported cases of the potentially more contagious variant.
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The nine people who tested positive in Jaipur include four members of a family who returned from South Africa recently.
“Genome sequencing has confirmed that nine persons are infected with the omicron variant,” Rajasthan Health Secretary Vaibhav Galriya said.
The new cases in Maharashtra include a woman who along with her two daughters came from Nigeria, and her brother and a man who returned from Finland in the last week of November, officials said. The number of cases in the State now stands at eight.
Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain said the national capital’s first patient has been admitted to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital. The patient had a sore throat, weakness and body ache, according to health officials, who added that the patient’s travel history is being collated and his contacts being traced. Mr. Jain said the Delhi Government is testing all the people coming from the affected countries.
“So far, 17 corona positive cases have been found and all these patients have been admitted to LNJP Hospital,” he said.
So far, genome sequencing of 12 people has been completed, out of which according to the initial report, one person who came from Tanzania has been confirmed to have the Omicron variant.
In Delhi, all COVID-positive international travellers are being admitted to the LNJP Hospital, where a dedicated ward has been set up for isolating and treating them.
Mr. Jain said, “People of Delhi should not panic. Omicron is not a new disease but a variant of the coronavirus itself. Its symptoms are also similar to almost all the last variants.”
The Minister said the protocol for treatment and prevention is same as before.
“Seeing the cases of corona decreasing, people were not following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour but now is the time when you need to be more careful. People who have not yet taken the vaccine should get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.
On the Centre's decision not to halt flights from all countries affected by the Omicron variant, Mr. Jain said, “It is very unfortunate. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had written a letter to the Centre and appealed to stop the flights coming from these countries for some time. But the Central Government did not do so”.
He further added that “Delhi receives the maximum number of flights from abroad, so Delhi is most at risk from this... flights coming from all the countries affected by the Omicron variant should be banned at the earliest.”
In Maharashtra, the Indian origin woman from Nigeria has mild symptoms and other five have no symptoms at all. Out of the six people, three are under 18 years of age and therefore, have not taken any vaccine. The three adults have taken both doses of vaccine. All these patients are being treated at the Jijamata Hospital in Pimpri-Chinchwad and are stable.
Meanwhile, 28,221 international passengers have arrived at Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur airports since December 1, of whom 4,901 were from at-risk countries and underwent RT-PCR testing. Around 543 passengers from other countries were also tested. Nine from at-risk countries have tested positive. Through airport and field surveillance, 30 samples have been sent for genomic sequencing.
(With inputs from Alok Deshpande and PTI)