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Even as the state recorded 135 new cases and one death, taking the caseload to 6,75,614 and the toll to 3,989, the Telangana government said on Sunday that it has strengthened the surveillance system and alerted teams amid mounting concerns over threat of the new coronavirus variant Omicron. 

The state Director of Public Health, G Srinivasa Rao said, the new Omicron variant has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong and some European countries and hence fully vaccinated passengers arriving from there will be quarantined at home and be monitored. 

Tests will be done on those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and samples sent to the CDFD lab for genome sequencing if anyone tests positive, he said. 

A health department bulletin said active cases in the state stood at 3,535. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation reported the highest number of cases (62), followed by Rangareddy (11) and Karimnagar districts (10). A total of 22,356 samples were tested today, taking the cumulative number of specimens examined to 2,85,11,075. 

A total of 144 Covid-19 recoveries were reported, taking the total number of recoveries to 6,68,090. The recovery rate and case fatality rate in the state was 98.88 per cent and 0.59 per cent respectively, the bulletin said. 

Additionally, Andhra Pradesh on Sunday reported 178 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally to just over 20.72 lakh, while six deaths took the toll to 14,438. Recoveries outnumbered fresh cases, with 190 people recuperating from the virus, leaving 2,140 active cases, a health department bulletin said. 

Guntur accounted for two deaths, while Chittoor, Krishna, Nellore and Visakhapatnam each recorded one fatality. During the last 24 hours ending 9 AM on Sunday, 27,657 samples were tested, the bulletin said

Meanwhile, the B.1.1.529 variant, designated as a "Variant of Concern" by WHO on Friday, has sparked a new wave of restrictions on travellers from various southern African nations by countries such as the US, Canada, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and the European Union.

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