Omicron Coronavirus Highlights, December 5: 9 Omicron cases found in Rajasthan, 7 in Maharashtra – The Indian Express

Omicron Covid Variant Highlights: As many as nine people have tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Rajasthan’s Jaipur on Sunday, according to the state health department.
In Maharashtra’s Pune district, seven people, including three from Nigeria, were found to be infected with the new variant.
Those infected include a 44-year-old woman and her two daughters, aged 18 and 12, who had come to visit her brother on November 24 in Pimpri-Chinchwad from Lagos, Nigeria. The 45-year-old brother and his two-and-a-half-year-old and seven-year-old daughters were also found to be infected with Omicron.
Additionally, a 47-year-old man, who had recently travelled to Finland, also tested positive for the variant in Pune. Four of those found positive have been fully vaccinated, while the other three are minors.
With this, Maharashtra’s Omicron tally has gone up to eight and India’s to 21. Besides Maharashtra and Rajasthan, Delhi on Sunday reported its first case of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus. Earlier, cases were found in Maharashtra’s Dombivli, Gujarat’s Jamnagar, and two in Karnataka.
Tamil Nadu has not detected any cases of ‘Omicron’ variant and the five international passengers who have tested Covid-19 positive on their arrival from the United Kingdom and Singapore, were suspected to contracted the ‘Delta’ variant of Covid-19, Tamil Nadu Minister Ma Subramanian said on Sunday. The Health and Family Welfare Minister said the five individuals who arrived from the high risk countries were ‘asymptomatic’ and were ‘fine’ at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research hospital in the city. “As per the first level of information, one individual (of the five passengers) has tested Covid-19 negative. Tamil Nadu has not detected any Omicron variant,” he told reporters. Health Department Principal Secretary J Radhakrishnan said the chances of the five people testing positive for Omicron variant was ‘less’.  –PTI
The Omicron variant, spreading now in southern Africa and detected in over 30 other countries, has prompted fears it could significantly undermine the effectiveness of vaccines against COVID-19.
Yet as scientists race to understand the full consequences of Omicron, some are also asking whether this new version of coronavirus might cause milder illness than its predecessors. While they caution that it is far too early to draw conclusions, we explain what is known so far. Read here
Seven persons, including a non-resident Indian (NRI) woman and her two daughters from Nigeria, have tested positive for the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Pune district of Maharashtra, taking the state’s tally of those found infected with this strain to eight, the health department said on Sunday. The woman and her daughters had arrived in the state on November 24 to meet her brother living in Pimpri Chinchwad area near Pune city. Apart from them, her brother and his two minor daughters have also tested positive for the new variant, it said. –PTI
According to the state health department, a total of nine cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been found in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Total 9 cases of Omicron variant reported in Rajasthan’s Jaipur so far: State Health Dept
As the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus makes an entry in Gujarat, a study by researchers from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other organisations, conducted in May and June during the second wave of Covid-19 in two blocks of Ahmedabad district, found that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic cases with high viral load pose a “greater threat” compared to symptomatic cases.

“It appears like asymptomatic cases may spread more number of secondary cases compared to symptomatic cases during their pre-symptomatic period, particularly cases with high viral load, probably because of their ignorance of their status,” the study notes. Read more
As many as 69 people, including 59 students of a school in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district tested positive for Covid-19 infection as the active caseload in the cluster rose further on Sunday, officials of the health and family welfare department confirmed.
The new cluster has been identified at Jawahar Navodaya School at Seegodu near Balehonnur after samples of 418 people, including students and staff, were tested after three students and four staff members had contracted Covid-19 on Friday. Another 36 people in the cluster contracted the infection on Saturday as well.
District Health Officer S N Umesh said another 26 samples returned with a positive result on Sunday. “With this, the total number of active cases in the cluster has risen to 69, including 59 students, with most of them being asymptomatic.” Read more
A 48-year-old man from Limbdi town in Gujarat’s Surendranagar district was admitted to the sub-district hospital in Limbdi town on Saturday evening after he tested positive for Covid-19.

Authorities said that they were treating him to be a suspected case of Omicron. “He had recently returned to his home after travelling to Congo. As per protocol, our health department screened him for Covid-19 and the test results returned positive even though he was asymptomatic. He has been admitted to the isolation ward in the sub-district hospital in Limbdi and his samples have been sent for genome sequencing,” Surendranagar district collector Amrutesh Aurangabadkar said.

The collector said that close contacts of the man are being traced and isolated even as genome sequencing results of his samples are awaited.
A day after it was confirmed that an NRI visiting Jamnagar contracted the Omicron variant of Covid-19, his wife and brother-in-law also tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and were shifted to a government hospital in the city.

The 72-year-old NRI, who is a citizen of Zimbabwe, was on Saturday confirmed to be the first case of Omicron variant in Gujarat. On Sunday, authorities said, “After it was confirmed on Saturday that the NRI had contracted the Omicron variant of the virus, our health department took samples of nine members of his family. Test results of the NRI’s 45-year-old wife and his 35-year-old brother-in-law returned positive on Sunday, while the rest tested negative,” Vijay Kharadi, the municipal commissioner of Jamnagar, told It is not yet confirmed if the wife and the brother-in-law have been infected with the Omicron variant. Read more
Of the seven new Omicron cases detected in Maharashtra, six have been found in the Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal area, while one was found in Pune. The 47-year-old is fully vaccinated with Covishield, according to an official release. “He is currently in stable condition with no symptoms,” it added.

The man had visited Finland last month and got tested recently after he had mild fever.
As many as seven people have tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Maharashtra’s Pune district. A 44-year-old woman from Lagos, Nigeria, who had come to visit her brother on November 24 in Pimpri-Chinchwad, along with her two daughters, has been found to be infected with the new variant by the National Institute of Virology in Pune. Her 45-year-old brother and his two-and-a-half-year-old and seven-year-old daughters were also found to be infected with Omicron.

According to an official release, the woman from Nigeria has very mild symptoms and the other five have no symptoms at all. While three of those infected are under 18 years of age, the other three have been fully vaccinated. They are currently being treated at a hospital in Pimpri Chinchwad.

Additionally, a 47-year-old man also tested positive for the variant in Pune. 
Kerala on Sunday recorded 4,450 fresh Covid-19 cases and 161 deaths.

Of the 161 deaths, 23 were reported over the last few days and 138 were designated as Covid-19 deaths after receiving appeals based on the new guidelines of the Centre and the directions of the Supreme Court, an official press release said.

There are currently 1,67,693 people under surveillance in various districts, of whom 1,63,323 are in home or institutional quarantine and 4,370 in hospitals, the release said.
Two women publishers from Pune attending the 94th Marathi literary meet, Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, in Nashik, Maharashtra have tested positive for Covid-19, PTI reported on Sunday. The women will either be quarantined in Nashik or allowed to travel back to Pune and kept under observation.

Officials have flagged concern as thousands have attended the three-day event from December 3 to 5. They have begun tracing those who came in contact with the two women. According to PTI, sources have said that several attendees and dignitaries at the literary event had flouted Covid guidelines, not wearing masks or social distancing, at times. 
Though, no cases of Omicron variant have been reported in Telangana so far, a senior health official said, “It would not be surprising if the new variant gets reported in Hyderabad or Telangana.” The Telangana government has geared up for the possible third wave and has also intensified vaccination programme, he said.

“Towards this new Omicron variant we intensified our surveillance mechanism at the international airport here. Since December 1, as many as 979 international travellers from ‘at-risk’ countries arrived at Hyderabad international airport and on Saturday 70 international travellers came,” Director of Public Health (DPH) Dr G Srinivasa Rao told reporters in Hyderabad. Results of the genome sequencing of samples from 13 passengers who tested positive are expected to arrive this evening or tomorrow.

An action plan has been chalked out to improve the coverage with two doses by December 31, he said. The state government is completely geared up and has made necessary preparations to tackle a probable third wave of Covid-19, he said. These measures including oxygen beds, beds dedicated for children and oxygen generating plants. (PTI)
Across the student groups, there has been a demand for the reopening of the Delhi University campus and the varsity authorities were considering it. However, the vice-chancellor said, their confidence has gone down after the emergence of Omicron, the new variant of coronavirus, and the university will wait for a month before taking any decision.

“The university is open but only PhD students are coming to campus. The practicals for final year students are happening. How can I reopen campus till the time  Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) allows 100 per cent seating capacity,” Yogesh Singh said.

Singh said that a classroom has a capacity of 60 students but the admissions are close to 120. “The DDMA mandates that the seating capacity has to be 50 per cent of the classroom capacity, which means I can call 30 students. I will have to leave out 70-80 students. How is it possible? Then there is the issue of hostels where already there are space constraints,” he said. Read more
The Mohali district administration has closed schools below fourth standard in blocks where the positivity rate of Covid-19 is 0.2 per cent. The decision has been taken after four students and two staff members of a school in Derabassi were tested positive for the virus Friday. The administration has also decided to expedite sampling in the vulnerable areas.

Deputy Commissioner Isha Kalia told The Indian Express that the testing was going on in all the government schools in the district. She added that they had instructions to close the schools in the blocks below fourth standard in case the schools record the positivity rate of 0.2 per cent.

Replying to a question for not wearing masks by the people, the DC said that they will start the challaning drive from Monday onwards. read more
Himachal Pradesh has become the first state to fully vaccinate 100 per cent of its adult population against Covid-19, PTI reported. In an event to mark the achievement, BJP chief and Rajya Sabha MP Jagat Prakash Nadda inaugurated an out-patient department (OPD) at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bilaspur.

As many as 53,86,393 eligible adults have been administered the second dose, a state official said. Himachal Pradesh was also the first state to achieve the 100 per cent first dose vaccination of its adult population by the end of August.
Those planning to travel to the UK should note that it has re-introduced compulsory pre-departure tests for all travellers entering the country amid fears of the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Starting Tuesday, all those arriving to the UK, including vaccinated passengers and anyone above the age of 12, must provide a pre-booked negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or lateral flow test taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure, PTI reported.

It has also put Nigeria in its travel ban red list from Monday morning. British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights, arriving to England from countries on the red list – which includes South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola and soon Nigeria – are required to book a managed quarantine hotel in advance. 
The US has made it mandatory for all incoming passengers, including those from India, to carry a negative Covid-19 test report or a proof of recovery from the contagion amidst rising number of cases of the new Omicron variant.

“This amendment updates Covid-19 testing requirements for air passengers 2 years or older boarding a flight to the United States,” Indian government officials informed Indian-American community leaders on Saturday.

As per the new amended order, effectively for flights departing to the US from a foreign country at or after 12:01 AM EST (5:01 AM GMT or 10:31 AM IST) on December 6, 2021, passengers are required show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel. Read more
The Union Territory of Puducherry has made it mandatory for all persons to get the Covid-19 vaccine, new agency PTI reported, with an aim to achieve 100 per cent coverage. The Director of Health and Family Welfare Services G.Sriramulu said those skipping it would face penal action under the Puducherry Public Health Act.
Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, while speaking to reporters in Haridwar on Sunday, said that the state is on full alert in wake of the Omicron variant and will be conducting random testing with a target of 25,000 daily tests. “Random testing is going to start at railway stations, airports and border areas,” he further said.
Haridwar | The state government is on full alert. We have held meetings with a high-power committee and are launching random testing with target of 25000 tests daily: Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami on precautionary measures taken by Govt over Omicron variant
A healthcare worker conducts a Covid test on a passenger arriving at Delhi’s Anand Vihar Railway Station on Saturday. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)
Two more cases of Omicron were reported in the country on Saturday, one each from Gujarat’s Jamnagar and Mumbai, taking the total to four. Both have mild symptoms of Covid. The first two cases of Omicron were reported from Bengaluru, of whom one flew out of the country.
One of those declared positive for the Omicron variant on Saturday is a 33-year-old who travelled to India from Cape Town in South Africa, arriving in Mumbai on November 24, via Dubai and Delhi. He is the first patient with the Omicron variant in Maharashtra. The second Omicron patient is a 72-year-old NRI who flew in from Zimbabwe on November 28, and is Gujarat’s first case.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday said that any area with three or more cases of Covid-19 will be classified as a cluster. Sources said that the decision has been taken to contain the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the state. Earlier, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had said that areas having at least 10 Covid-19 cases would be declared as clusters.
The chief minister said the state government has received a preliminary report on Omicron cases. “The health department has been instructed to obtain a comprehensive report on treatment protocol being followed in various countries. At present, the protocol followed for the Delta variant is being applied to Omicron infections, too. I want a scientific system to be followed. Experts have said that Omicron is a fast-spreading variant, but it has not shown severe implications. However, instructions have been issued to intensify tracing and treatment,” Bommai said.



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