Eleven new cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 were reported in Maharashtra on Tuesday, of which one each is from Pimpri-Chinchwad, Navi Mumbai and Osmanabad. The remaining eight patients, detected during screening operations at the Mumbai airport, include one each from Kerala, Gujarat and Thane, while the rest are from Mumbai. Of the eight patients, two had travel history to Dubai, four to England and two others had returned to Mumbai from Uganda via Dubai.
Till date, a total of 65 Omicron cases have been reported in Maharashtra, said state Surveillance Officer Dr Pradeep Awate. Of these, 34 patients have been discharged following a negative RT-PCR test. Barring two patients who are under 18 years of age, all patients are vaccinated. They are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, said Dr Awate.
In Pimpri-Chinchwad, a woman tested positive for Omicron on Tuesday and she was admitted to the New Bhosari Hospital, said officials. The woman had returned to the city from Czech Republic via Dubai, said Dr Laxman Gophane, medical officer at PCMC.
According to the state Health Department report, the 13-year-old daughter of an Omicron patient from Osmanabad was also found to be infected with the variant on Tuesday. She is asymptomatic.
Every month, 100 samples from each district — almost 3,600 in total — are sent to CSIR-IGIB in Delhi for genome sequencing. This is in addition to approximately 300 samples picked during routine surveillance. “Pune city’s first case of Omicron variant was traced from routine surveillance but in that case, the man had international travel history and had returned from Finland,” said Dr Awate.
Dr Rajesh Karyakarte, state coordinator for genome sequencing, said that in an attempt to understand whether the Omicron variant had sneaked in October-November this year, even before the World Health Organisation had termed it as a variant of concern, city-based national institutions under the Pune Consortium of Genome Sequencing were able to sequence 1,445 samples till date. This was done through coordination by the B J Government Medical College, but none of the samples from the community had showed presence of Omicron variant.
“Almost all were of Delta variant and its sub-lineages. The Omicron variant, till now, has been detected in persons who have history of international travel or their contacts,” Dr Karyakarte told The Indian Express.
Weekly Covid positivity rate in Pune higher than state avg Pune’s Covid positivity rate for the week of December 14-20 was 1.75%, still higher than the state average of 0.82%. Six other districts — Sangli, Solapur, Palghar, Satara, Nashik and Ahmednagar — also reported Covid positivity rate higher than the state average in the same week. According to a state Health Department report, the number of new Covid infections in the week of December 7-13 in Pune was 1,284, which rose to 1,352 in the week of December 14-20.
In Mumbai, the number of new Covid-19 cases in the week of December 7-13 was 1,456, which rose to 1,799 in the week of December 14-20. Across the state, 5,156 new cases were reported in the week of December 7-13, which rose to 5,688 in the week of December 14-20.