India's third Omicron case detected in Gujarat; CM holds high-level meeting

Microscopic view of covid-19 omicron variant or B.1.1.529. 3D rendering
A 72-year-old man has been found infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Jamnagar city of Gujarat, days after he arrived in the state from Zimbabwe, a high-risk country, the health department said on Saturday.

This is the third case of Omicron in the country as two persons were earlier found infected with this strain in Karnataka.

Gujarat's Commissioner of Health Jai Prakash Shivhare confirmed that the man has tested positive for the Omicron variant.

The man had arrived in Gujarat from Zimbabwe on November 28 and had tested positive for coronavirus on December 2, after which his sample was sent for genome sequencing, officials said.

Jamnagar municipal commissioner Vijaykumar Kharadi had said that the sample was sent to Ahmedabad for genome sequencing to ascertain whether he was infected with the Omicron variant.

The man, who hails from Jamnagar, has been living in Zimbabwe since the last many years. He arrived in the state to meet his father-in-law. After he got a fever, his doctor advised him to get an RT-PCR test done. The private laboratory on Thursday informed the civic authorities that his report has come out positive for COVID-19, he said.

After that, the man had been shifted to the isolation ward at the Guru Gobind Singh Government Hospital, Kharadi said.

The district authorities had already started his contact tracing as per protocols, officials said.

"Following first case of Omicron in Jamnagar, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel reviewed the readiness of state health system, at a high-level meeting. He instructed to strictly implement new guidelines issued by the Govt of India regarding Omicron variant in the state. CM gave clear instructions to proceed with the strategy of tracing, testing, and treatment in positive cases. He also appealed to all citizens to use social distancing, masks to the fullest, urging them to be vigilant and cautious even in the context of this new variant," said CMO.

The Omicron strain has been marked as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO).

A new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year.

On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'. The WHO has classified Omicron as a 'variant of concern'.

Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.

The new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 23 countries and their number is expected to rise, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said.

India has also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country, including post-arrival testing for infection.

According to the Centre, the countries designated as "at-risk" are European countries, including the UK, and South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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