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Two more people have tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Maharashtra, said the state government on Monday. 

“Two more cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, a 37-year-old South Africa returnee man and his 36-year-old US returnee friend, have been confirmed in Maharashtra," the government said. 

Both the patients are displaying no symptoms and were vaccinated with Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine.

Until now, five high-risk and 315 low-risk contacts of the patients have been traced. Further tracing is currently underway, the state government said.

With this, the tally of people infected with the new strain has gone up to 10 in Maharashtra and 23 across India. 

The country had detected 17 cases of the Omicron variant on Sunday – nine persons in Rajasthan capital Jaipur, seven in Maharashtra's Pune district and a fully vaccinated man who arrived in Delhi from Tanzania.

Most of those who tested positive either recently arrived from African countries or were in contact with such people.

The nine people who tested positive in Jaipur include four members of a family who returned from South Africa recently.

The first two Omicron cases in India were reported in Karnataka last Thursday, where a 66-year-old South African flyer and a 46-year-old Bengaluru doctor with no travel history had tested positive. 

On Saturday, a 72-year-old NRI from Gujarat and a 33-year-old man from Maharashtra's Thane tested positive for the new strain.

The marine engineer, who had arrived in Delhi from South Africa on 23 November and had then taken a flight to Mumbai, is currently undergoing treatment at a Covid-19 care centre in Kalyan town, located about 50 km from Maharashtra capital.

The first patient to test positive for Omicron in Delhi is a 37-year-old resident of Ranchi who had travelled from Tanzania to Doha and from there to Delhi on a Qatar Airways flight on 2 December.

The person is “fully vaccinated" and is currently admitted to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital with “mild symptoms", an official said.

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 lockdowns.

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.

According to the Centre, the countries designated as "at-risk" include the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

 

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