India's Omicron cases rises to 422; here is the statewide tally
Even as India’s Omicron tally climbed to 422, the first cases of the highly-transmissible variant of the coronavirus have been reported in Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
In Madhya Pradesh, eight people with international travel history tested positive at Indore on Sunday (December 26), while the first Omicron case was confirmed in Himachal Pradesh from the nine samples that were sent for genome sequencing.
This is the first time that the MP government has reported cases of the new virus variant in the state. Of the eight cases, three had returned from the United States, two each from the United Kingdom and Tanzania, and one from Ghana, said media reports. MP state home minister Narottam Mishra told the media that out of these patients, six have recovered and have been discharged while the remaining two, who are both asymptomatic, are undergoing treatment.
The samples of these people, who returned to the state’s industrial hub Indore from different countries, were taken between December 17 and 21. Further, Mishra said around 3,000 people recently returned to Indore from abroad and 26 of them were found to be infected with the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, in Himachal Pradesh, a woman who returned from Canada tested positive. But subsequent tests showed a negative RT-PCR test and her three contacts also came up negative for COVID.
Currently, India has recorded 422 Omicron cases in India – without taking into account the cases from MP and HP. The number of persons recovered is 130, informed the Union Health Ministry.
Gujarat, which is headed to the polls in the state in two months – has 43. Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have all reported 30 + cases each, Rajasthan has about 22, while UP, West Bengal, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh are still within the single digit numbers. UP, which will witness one of the most crucial assembly elections in two months, has reported two cases.
The Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa, has spread rapidly and become a source of anxiety for many governments. Seemingly more infectious than the Delta variant and probably more resistant to vaccines, the Israel government has even ordered a fourth dose for its health workers and for the 60 plus age group.
Last night (December 25), Prime Minister Narendra Modi too announced “precaution doses” (not booster shots) for frontline workers and those above 60 from January 10. The government will also dispatch teams of medical experts to 10 states, which are either reporting increasing Omicron and COVID-19 cases or showing a slow vaccination pace. This includes poll-bound UP and Punjab.
Based on the surge in cases during election campaigns in Bengal and other states earlier in the year, the Allahabad High Court has in fact urged the Election Commission to consider deferring polls.
With 6,987 more people testing positive for COVID-19 in a day, India’s total caseload increased to 3,47,86,802, according to the data updated at 8 am today. The death toll has climbed to 4,79,682 with 162 new fatalities, the data stated.vas India’s Omicron tally climbed to 422, the first cases of th