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As many as seven more people have tested positive for the Omicron variant of coronavirus in Maharashtra, state officials said on Sunday. With this, the total number of people infected the strain across India has reached 12.

“Four persons in Pune who returned from foreign tours and three of their close contacts have tested positive for the Omicron variant," said the Maharashtra health department. 

The patients include a woman who came from Nigeria along with her two daughters to meet her brother in Pimpri Chinchwad area. The brother and his two daughters have also tested positive, said officials. 

Another case is of a man from Pune who returned from Finland the last week. 

The first two cases of Omicron were reported in Karnataka. 

"Two people found positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19. One person is about 66-years-old and a South African national, who has gone back. Another person is a 46-year-old doctor. He does not have any travel history," said Karnataka health minister Dr K Sudhakar.

On Saturday, the third case was reported from Gujarat's Jamnagar. The man, 72, had recently returned from Zimbabwe. His sample was sent for genome sequencing after he tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday.

Later, man from Maharashtra who travelled to Mumbai from South Africa via Dubai and Delhi was found positive for the new variant too. 

Delhi reported its first and the country's fifth Omicron case on Sunday morning. The patient, a Tanzania returnee, has mild symptoms as he had taken both doses of the vaccine.

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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