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As many as 48 more cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus were reported across Kerala on Saturday, taking the state's tally of the new strain to 528, according to the state health department. 

Out of the total new cases, 33 came from low-risk countries while two were from high-risk nations. Nine patients contracted the variant from their contacts while four are from other states. 

Of the cumulative 528 patients, 12 are in Kozhikode district, nine in Ernakulam, seven in Thrissur, six in Thiruvananthapuram, four in Kottayam and two in Malappuram. Kollam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Palakkad and Wayanad districts have one case each, the health department said in a release.

There are three Tamil Nadu natives among the infected. 

A total of 365 of all the patients came from low-risk countries while 92 arrived from high-risk nations. Till now, 61 people have contracted the disease from their contacts and 10 affected people reached Kerala from other states. 

The state had detected its first Omicron case on December 12 in Ernakulam district when a person who had returned from the UK tested positive.

Meanwhile, the country's Omicron tally surged to 6,041 on Saturday, according to the Union health ministry.

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

On 26 November, the WHO named the new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 as 'Omicron'. The WHO has classified Omicron as a 'variant of concern'.

To deal with this, several countries have imposed travel restrictions and local lockdown.

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

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