India reported over 150 fresh Omicron infections with Goa and Manipur on Monday registering their first cases as the total tally of this latest variant of COVID-19 touched nearly 600.
With the surge in cases, the Centre issued a fresh advisory to all states and union territories, asking them not to let the guard down.
According to Union Health Ministry data updated in the morning, 156 fresh cases of Omicron were logged, taking the tally of such cases to 578. However, 151 out of the 578 people, who contracted the infection, have recovered or migrated.
The 578 cases have been detected across 19 states and union territories with Delhi recording the maximum number of 142 cases followed by Maharashtra at 141, Kerala 57, Gujarat 49, Rajasthan 43 and Telangana 41.
India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,47,93,333, while the active cases declined to 75,841, according to the data updated at 8 am.
The death toll has climbed to 4,79,997 with 315 fresh fatalities, the data stated.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said states and union territories may consider imposing need-based, local curbs and restrictions, to control the crowd during the festive season. A number of states have already imposed curbs on congregation of people besides night curfew.
A 48-year-old returnee from Tanzania tested positive for Omicron variant in Manipur, making him the first patient of the strain in the northeastern state.
The Directorate of Health Services in Imphal said the man, a resident of Imphal West district, recently returned via Delhi. He tested positive on the eighth day of his return to India.
He has been placed under isolation at the state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal, and he has not exhibited any severe symptoms, officials said.
Three other family members of the man have also tested positive for COVID-19, but their genome sequencing results are yet to come.
In Panaji, an eight-year-old boy, who arrived from the UK, was confirmed to be infected with Omicron.
The Delhi government on Sunday had decided to re-impose night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am from Monday in view of surge in daily cases and significant rise in positivity rate. According to a graded response action plan, a ‘Yellow’ alert will come into force, bringing a set of restrictions.
Maharashtra reported 26 new cases, including 11 in Mumbai, of the Omicron variant, taking the state’s tally of those infected with the new strain to 167.
During the day, Haryana reported two more cases of the Omicron variant, pushing the tally of such cases to 12 in the state.
In view of the emergence of the Omicron cases, the Haryana government has already imposed a night curfew and restrictions on gatherings from Saturday. It has also said people eligible for vaccination but not fully vaccinated will be banned from entering shopping malls, cinema halls, restaurants and grain markets, among other crowded places, from January 1.
Three more persons tested positive for Omicron in Uttarakhand, taking the number of people infected with the latest variant to four in the state.
One of the three cases is a 28-year-old man who had returned from Yemen and tested positive for the Omicron variant in Haridwar.
The two others are a 74-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman who had come into contact with a family that had returned from Dubai and tested positive for the strain in Dehradun.
Gujarat reported 24 new cases of the Omicron variant, raising the tally to 73.
In Indore, the health department has sent for tests samples of 164 people, who came in contact with nine people found infected with the new Omicron variant.
Out of these 164 people, if anyone tests positive for coronavirus, then that person’s sample will be sent to the National Centre for Disease Control for genome sequencing to ascertain if the person is infected with the Omicron variant, Indore’s Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr B S Saitya said.
Of the nine people found infected with Omicron after return from abroad, seven have recovered and gone back home from hospital, he said.
“The other two patients are admitted in different hospitals here and their health condition is stable,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has requested the Centre to grant the state permission, as a special case, to announce Omicron confirmed cases rather than wait for reports from the National Institute of Virology, owing to its expertise in whole genome sequencing.
Reiterating the demand for necessary approvals, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ma Subramanian claimed that by the time the NIV confirmed the samples, those testing positive in the state get discharged after treatment.
Subramanian said of the 97 people recently detected with S-gene drop in Tamil Nadu, the NIV confirmed the presence of Omicron variant in 34, of whom 18 have already been discharged while 16 are undergoing treatment. PTi