India has confirmed its fourth case of Omicron variant of coronavirus (Covid-19), hours after a senior citizen from Gujarat was found infected with the highly transmissible variant. The infection has been reported in a 33-year-old man from Maharashtra's Kalyan-Dombivli who has a travel history to Cape Town in South Africa, people familiar with the development said on Saturday. The case is also the first-known infection of Omicron variant to be reported from Maharashtra.
The 33-year-old man had arrived in Delhi on 23 November and gave his samples for Covid-19 testing at the Delhi airport. He then took a flight to Mumbai, according to news agency PTI.
"A man from Kalyan Dombivli municipal corporation area has tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19. He is the first official case in the state," Maharashtra health department director Dr Archana Patil told PTI in Mumbai.
"He came with a group of four people. We are tracing and tracking them. Their RT-PCR test as well as genome sequencing will be done as well," she said.
Cases with the Omicron variant have already been detected in Karnataka and Gujarat.
The third known case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in India came to light from Gujarat after a man from Jamnagar, who had returned from Zimbabwe, tested positive for the disease.
Previously, two men in Karnataka tested positive for the Omicron variant, in the first cases to be reported from India.
The omicron variant, first detected in South Africa, has triggered widespread concern as multiple mutations have been found in the strain that can possibly dampen all the efforts to slow down the ongoing pandemic. The strain has been marked as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to the Centre, the countries designated as 'at-risk' are European countries, including the United Kingdom, and South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.