Seven new Omicron cases were reported across the state on Friday, of which three were from Mumbai and four from Pimpri-Chinchwad, as per the recent report from National Institute of Virology. This brings the total number of Omicron cases in Maharashtra to 17, of which five are from the city. Of the seven new cases, only one flyer had taken a single dose of the vaccine, while another was unvaccinated.
Of the three new cases in the city, one is a 48-year-old maulvi, a resident of Chennai who had returned from Tanzania on December 4, while the other two are a 37-year-old resident of Gujarat from South Africa who also arrived on December 4 and a 25-year-old man who flew into Mumbai from London on December 1. According to health officials, all of them tested Covid-positive but had no symptoms and were immediately shifted to SevenHills Hospital. The civic body further tracked down their close contacts and their samples were sent for RT-PCR testing, which turned out to be negative.
The medical health officer for G-North War,d Dr Virendra Mohite, said the 48-year-old patient was a permanent resident of Chennai and would visit Mumbai to lecture in madrassas. On December 4 also, he had come to the city to deliver a lecture at Qadriya Masjid in Dharavi, but as he had come from a non-risk country, the airport staff had taken his sample for RT-PCR, because of which a report came after he left for Dharavi.
“He was tested for RT-PCR at Airport as a two per cent sample as Tanzania was not in the list of at-risk countries and was asked to home-isolate. However, when his reports came out positive the airport authorities informed our team and we tracked him before he entered Dharavi, so there was no chance of community transmission. Though he was unvaccinated, he did not have any symptoms and was immediately admitted to SevenHills Hospital in Marol,” he said. They had also tracked two of his high-risk close contacts who had to pick him up at Dharavi and their samples were also taken for RT-PCR. However, both contacts tested negative.
The samples of the other two fliers were sent for the genome sequencing after they had both tested Covid-positive. Though both were fully vaccinated, the 37-year-old had mild symptoms while the 25-year-old was asymptomatic. They were admitted to the hospital as a precautionary measure and individuals in close contact with the patient were surveyed but none were found to have been infected.
The remaining four patients from the PCMC are contacts of the Nigerian women already confirmed as Omicron cases in previous reports. “Of the 7 patients found today, four have been vaccinated. One patient has received a single dose of the vaccine while one patient has not been vaccinated. One patient is three-and-a-half years old, so is not eligible for vaccination,” said a health official.
Health experts, meanwhile, said there is not enough clarity on the severity of the current infection rate due to Omicron, and more information is expected to be released in the next two weeks. “We need to go back to the basics of tracing, testing and treating. As we have seen previously, cases take a month or two to rise after a new variant is found to be in circulation,” said Dr Rahul Pandit, a member of the national Covid-19 taskforce.
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