India's Omicron tally near 950; cases spike in 3 states

India's Omicron case tally near 950; fresh spike recorded in Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat

The spike in the country's financial capital has got pronounced since December 20, when just 283 cases were reported

A Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) health worker collects swab samples of an outstation passenger for Covid-19 test, at CSMT railway station in Mumbai. Credit: PTI Photo

Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat on Wednesday recorded a big spike in fresh Covid-19 cases — their highest since the May-June period — while Punjab reported the first case of the Omicron variant to take the country-wide tally of the new strain past 900.

According to data from the Centre and the states, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country crossed 10,000 after a little over a month. On November 26, the total reported was 10,549.

With Punjab reporting its first Omicron case after a 36-year-old man, who came from Spain earlier this month tested positive for the new variant, the number of states and union territories where this highly contagious strain has been detected rose to 22.

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Updated official data available in the night showed that the Omicron tally was close to 950 with Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana reporting a majority of the fresh cases of this variant. In Maharashtra, 85 more people were infected by the new strain to take the total to 252, the state Health department said.

According to the Union Health Ministry data updated at 8 am, India recorded 781 cases of the Omicron variant across 21 states and union territories so far out of which 241 people have recovered or migrated.

Maharashtra was followed by Delhi(238), Gujarat (97), Rajasthan(69), Kerala(65) and Telangana(62) among those with over 50 Omicron cases, according to official data from the Centre and the states.

The statement had also said there were 9,195 new Covid cases while the active cases rose to 77,002.

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Mumbai reported 2,510 fresh Covid cases, the highest daily addition since May 8, and one death, taking its tally to 7,75,808 and toll to 16,375, a civic official said.

The spike in the country's financial capital has got pronounced since December 20, when just 283 cases were reported. Tuesday had witnessed 1,377 cases in the metropolis, and Wednesday's figure was a jump by over 80 per cent, the official pointed out.

On May 8, Mumbai had seen 2,678 coronavirus cases when the second wave of the pandemic was at its peak.

Delhi logged 923 new coronavirus cases, the highest since May 30 and to register a 86 per cent jump in the number of this infections recorded the previous day, according to health department data.

The positivity rate climbed to 1.29 per cent from 0.89 per cent on Tuesday. No fresh fatality was reported, the bulletin stated.

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On May 30, Delhi had recorded 946 Covid cases and 78 deaths with a positivity rate of 1.25 per cent.

On Tuesday, the city saw 496 Covid cases and one fatality due to the disease.

Gujarat reported 548 new Covid cases crossing the 500-mark for the first time after more than six-and-a-half months, raising its overall tally to 8,30,505, while one more patient succumbed to the infection in the state, the health department said.

The state had last reported more than 500 cases at 544 on June 10.

Gujarat has witnessed a sharp jump in its daily Covid cases over the last few days, recording 177 infections on Sunday, 204 on Monday, 394 on Tuesday and now 548.

The Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia INSACOG, meanwhile, said there is now clear experimental and clinical data supporting a very high immune escape potential of Omicron, but initial estimates show the severity of illness being lower than what was seen in previous outbreaks.

In India, appropriate public health measures and investigations are being conducted for surveillance of Omicron, INSACOG said while noting that globally there appears to be significantly reduced ability of vaccines or prior infection to protect against symptomatic infection by the Omicron variant.

"While Delta continues to be the most prevalent VOC globally, the Omicron variant has completely displaced it in southern Africa and is on track to become the dominant variant in UK and elsewhere," the INSACOG said in its latest bulletin citing global data.

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