New Delhi: Seven people – four foreign-returnees and three of their close contacts – in Maharashtra were today found positive with the new Covid variant, Omicron, taking the total number of such cases in the country to 12.
Here are the top 10 developments on this big story:
- A woman and her two daughters who travelled from Nigeria, her brother and his two daughters in Pimpri Chinchwad – a township near Pune – and one male who travelled from Finland have tested for the new variant.
- A 37-year-old man who arrived in Delhi from Tanzania tested positive for the Omicron variant earlier today.
- The Tanzania returnee, who tested positive for the Omicron variant, has mild symptoms and had taken both doses of the vaccine, news agency ANI quoted Dr Suresh Kumar, Medical Director of LNJP Hospital as saying.
- The first two cases of Omicron in India were reported from Karnataka earlier this week. The other two cases were detected from Gujarat and Maharashtra. With seven new cases, the Omicron cases in Maharashtra have risen to 8.
- Omicron, first detected in South Africa on November 25, has been described as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- “PM sahib, please stop the flights”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had urged. The Chief Minister had also written a letter to the Prime Minister saying the same.
- The WHO has urged countries to prepare by accelerating vaccinations and put mitigation plans in place to maintain essential health services. “Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said in a statement.
- International airports across India are intensively screening and testing all passengers from ‘at-risk’ countries. In line with central guidelines, all passengers from such countries have to take RT-PCR tests on arrival. The test result has to be negative in order to leave the airport.
- The list of countries deemed “at-risk” for now includes the United Kingdom, all 44 countries in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel.
- Researchers are still checking if Omicron is more lethal and if current vaccines offer protection.