For the second day in running, eight new cases of Omicron variant have been detected across Maharashtra, of which four cases are from Mumbai while the other three are from Satara and one is from Pune Municipal Corporation area, as per findings of the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
Among the new cases in Mumbai, one patient had taken a dose of Pfizer vaccine in the US. Incidentally, on Friday, too, an Omicron case had surfaced of a 29-year-old man with a travel history to the US who had received three doses of Pfizer, including a booster, according to the BMC.
According to the corporation, all the four Mumbai patients are residents of Chhattisgarh, Jalgaon, Kerala and London and three of them are fully vaccinated, while one is unvaccinated. However, all are asymptomatic and admitted to Seven Hills hospital. Meanwhile, 13 patients in the city have been discharged.
The 32-year-old resident of Kerala had come to Mumbai from South Africa on December 6 and was detected positive for Covid -19, following which his sample was sent for genome sequencing on December 13. He was admitted to the hospital as a precautionary measure and has no symptoms, said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner.
“The three cases found in Satara are members of the same family with travel history of East Africa; all are without symptoms and in isolation. Except for the 8-year-old girl, the other two have been fully vaccinated. Similarly, a patient from Pune is a close contact of an international traveller and this 17-year-old girl has no symptoms. As she is under 18 years of age, she has not been vaccinated,” said Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer.
Meanwhile, health experts said that the Omicron is a variant that is more infectious and transmissible, which reduces vaccine effectiveness. This means there would be more reinfections among the vaccinated and previously infected people, but it will continue to protect against hospitalisations and severe disease.
“As said earlier, this variant is expected to cause more cases of reinfection and breakthrough infections. But vaccination and booster may help in decreasing the severity of the infection. Still, we will have to wait for 3-4 weeks to get a better understanding,” said Dr Rahul Pandit, National Covid task force member.