New Delhi: About 1,525 people in India have contracted the Omicron variant since the first case was reported in November, the Health Ministry said. Maharashtra and Delhi continue to be the worst-hit states. So far, 560 people have recovered from the new strain.
Twenty-three states in India have reported the fast-spreading Omicron variant so far. Maharashtra, which has reported the most number of COVID-10 cases, has 460 Omicron cases, followed by Delhi with 351 infections.
Gujarat reported 21 cases of the new strain in the last 24 hours and now has 136 cases. Tamil Nadu, which is the fourth worst-affected state, has reported 117 cases while neighbouring Kerala has reported 109 cases of the new strain.
The data by the Health Ministry indicates that thickly populated metros, such as the national capital New Delhi, financial centre Mumbai and Kolkata, are seeing some of the sharpest rises.
Delhi recorded a massive 50 per cent jump in coronavirus cases on Saturday, at 2,716, with around 3.64 percent of COVID-19 tests returning positive – a high positivity rate considered one of the first signs of an impending wave of infections.
Neighbouring Haryana has shut cinema halls and sports complexes in Gurgaon and four other cities as part of restrictions in view of a surge in coronavirus cases and the emergence of Omicron variant. Schools are also closed till January 12.
Amid the nationwide alarm, the Centre has asked states to set up makeshift hospitals and form special teams to ensure people don’t face any difficulty.India witnessed a devastating second wave of COVID-19 last year when the daily average number of new cases peaked at around 400,000.Caseloads had dropped significantly since then. For many months the national tally remained well under 10,000 cases a day.
Now, officials and medical experts fear the Omicron variant might fuel a third wave of the disease.