45% of Omicron cases in Maharashtra from those sans international travel history

Published on Dec 31, 2021 12:44 AM IST

Nearly 45% of the 450 Omicron cases detected in Maharashtra are from those without any international travel history

Nearly 45% of the 450 Omicron cases detected in Maharashtra are from those without any international travel history. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Nearly 45% of the 450 Omicron cases detected in Maharashtra are from those without any international travel history. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

Mumbai: Nearly 45% of the 450 Omicron cases detected in Maharashtra are from those without any international travel history. Based on the data, health experts now worry that Covid-19’s new variant is in a higher transmission phase. Of the 450 Omicron cases detected till Thursday, 206 did not have any travel history. State health officials said that of the 206 patients, the genome sequencing reports of 38 patients were declared on Wednesday and 168 patients on Thursday.

Infectious disease expert Dr Tanu Singhal said that a considerable number of cases could go untested as the Omicron infection is mild. The genome sequencing of samples from Maharashtra is being carried out at various laboratories including the National Institute of Virology in Pune, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and Kasturba Hospital’s laboratory in Mumbai.

In addition to collecting samples of international travellers and their contacts for genome sequencing, the civic body in Mumbai also began community surveillance from December 21 in various wards. From this surveillance, 375 samples were sent for genome sequencing at the Kasturba Hospital’s laboratory and of them, 141 or nearly 38% have been detected with the Omicron variant.

The 141 cases were detected in 22 of the city’s 24 wards. Of these 89 patients were male and 52 were female. The most number of cases- 21- have been detected from the K-West ward, followed by D ward (11 cases), H west and F North (10 each) and G South and M West (8 each).

An official said that the findings indicate the community spread of the variant, but they would wait for at least two more rounds of genome sequencing from the community surveillance, to confirm it. State’s Covid-19 task force member Dr Shashank Joshi however confirmed that the omicron variant is in the community outbreak phase and the third wave is being driven by this highly mutated variant.

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