COVID-19 | Maharashtra reports first case of Omicron variant

The 33-year-old passenger arrived in Mumbai on 24th November 2021 from Cape Town, South Africa, through Dubai and Delhi

Maharashtra on Saturday confirmed the first case of a Covid patient affected by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

"Presence of the Omicron variant has been confirmed from laboratory investigation in a 33- year-old passenger who arrived in Mumbai on 24th November 2021 from Cape Town, South Africa, through Dubai and Delhi. The passenger is the first patient with Omicron variant in the state," said the statement from Maharashtra’s Health Department.

The passenger is a resident of Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation and has not taken any Covid-19 vaccine. On November 24, the passenger got mild fever. However, no other symptoms were observed and is being treated at the Covid Care Centre in Kalyan-Dombivali.

Twelve of the passenger’s high-risk contacts and 23 of the low-risk contacts have been traced and all have tested negative for Covid-19. Additionally, 25 of the co-passengers from the Delhi-Mumbai flight have also tested negative. More contacts are currently being traced.

Meanwhile, results of the genomic sequencing of a 60-year-old male passenger’s sample who had arrived from Zambia has been obtained from the National Institute of Virology and Omicron has not been detected in the sample. Instead, a sub-lineage of Delta variant has been detected in the sample.

Until Saturday morning, 3,839 passengers arriving from at-risk countries for Omicron at Mumbai airport have been tested with RT-PCR and 344 out of 17,107 passengers arrived from other countries have been tested.

Since December 1, 2021, eight passengers have tested positive for Covid-19 and their samples have been sent for genomic sequencing. Additionally, field surveillance of all international passengers who have arrived since November 1 is underway.

The Public Health department has appealed to citizens to not panic, pointing out that genetic changes/mutation in viruses is a natural phenomenon. It appealed to the citizens that they should follow Covid- appropriate behaviour and inform authorities if they have had an international travel history in the last month and those who have not taken a Covid-19 vaccine or have had only one dose should complete their vaccination at the earliest.

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