India reported its third case of the Omicron variant of coronavirus on Saturday after a 72-year-old man from Gujarat tested positive for the strain following his return from Zimbabwe, the state health department said. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel chaired an emergency high-level meeting and reviewed the state’s preparedness to fight against the new Covid-19 strain. He called for strict implementation of new guidelines issued by the Centre regarding the Omicron variant.
The sample of the elderly man was sent for genome sequencing, after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, it said. Gujarat’s Commissioner of Health Jai Prakash Shivhare confirmed that the man was found infected with the Omicron strain. Earlier, two persons had tested positive for this variant in Karnataka.
The resident of Jamnagar is being monitored ACS, Health and Family Welfare, Manoj Aggarwal told ANI. “A person is found omicron positive in Jamnagar. We have isolated him and are monitoring him. A micro containment zone has been made where he is living. In the area, we will do the tracing, testing of people," he said.
India reported 8,603 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking the total to 34.62 million. Deaths rose by 415 to 470,530.
The WHO said Omicron, initially detected in South Africa, may spread more quickly than other forms of the virus.
Officials expect the Omicron variant to cause less severe illness, due to rising vaccination rates and high prior exposure to the Delta variant that infected nearly 70% of the population by July.
The health ministry said on Thursday two male patients, aged 66 and 46, were found infected with the new strain in Karnataka. The first person was a South African national while the second one, an Indian physician, had no recent travel history.
(With inputs from agencies)