NEW DELHI, Dec 4: Within minutes of India confirming the third case of Omicron variant in the country with a Zimbabwe NRI having carried the infection from his adopted country to Jamnagar in Gujarat, the fourth case was reported from Kalyan near Mumbai, also of an international traveler.
A 33-year-old man from Maharashtra who travelled to Mumbai from South Africa via Dubai and Delhi late last month has tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, in the fourth such case confirmed in India, official sources said. The man is currently at the Kalyan Dombivali Covid Care Centre.
Meanwhile, the government on Saturday wrote to five states – Odisha, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram, and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir – to express concern over a rapid increase in daily new Covid cases and mortality rates, and underline the danger posed by the Omicron variant.
Letters signed by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan urged concerned state and UT officials to enhance surveillance of foreign arrivals (particularly from ‘at risk’ countries), monitor emerging hotspots, and ensure that all samples from Covid patients are sent for genome sequencing.
Among those flagged, J&K’s Kathua district reported a staggering 727 per cent increase in new cases between November 26 and December 2, as compared to a week earlier. In the same period in Karnataka’s Tumkur district cases spiked by 152 per cent, and three Tamil Nadu districts also reported a worrying increase in new cases.
Similarly, massive surges in weekly caseloads were seen in four Mizoram districts, including Saiha (237 per cent), and six Odisha districts, including Dhenkanal (667 per cent), the government noted. The government also expressed concern over jumps in Covid-related mortality figures from Kerala. Twelve deaths in Thrissur district between November 19 and November 25 jumped to 128 the next week, and 70 deaths in Malappuram district in the same period became 109 in the next.
However, overall daily Covid cases continued to show steady decline since the peak of the second wave in May, when over four lakh new cases were reported in a day. On Saturday, fewer than 9,000 were reported from the previous 24 hours, and the national active caseload remained below one lakh. Declining Covid case rates have been accompanied by an increase in vaccination rates, officials said.