India Detects Third Omicron Case, Reports 415 COVID-19 Deaths



AHMEDABAD, Dec. 4 (Reuters) – India reported its third case of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday, government officials said, as the total number of Covid-19 cases approached the 35 million mark.

Officials in the western state of Gujarat said the patient who tested positive for Omicron was a 72-year-old man of Indian descent who had lived in Zimbabwe for decades and returned on November 28.

India reported 8,603 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total to 34.62 million. Deaths increased from 415 to 470,530.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month called on authorities to focus on countries identified at risk, after the World Health Organization (WHO) said the new variant was “of concern”.

The WHO has said that Omicron, initially detected in South Africa, could spread faster than other forms of the virus.

India expects the Omicron variant to cause less severe disease, due to increased vaccination rates and previous high exposure to the Delta variant which has infected nearly 70% of the population in July.

The Federal Health Ministry said Thursday that India had identified two male patients, aged 66 and 46, who carried the new strain in the southern state of Karnataka. The first person was a South African national while the second, an Indian doctor, had no recent travel history.

India, which suffered a record spike in infections and deaths in April and May from the Delta variant, has only fully vaccinated half of its 944 million adults despite an adequate supply of vaccines manufactured in India. the country.

Up to 84% have received at least one dose, and more than 125 million people are due for a second injection.

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Writing of Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Kim Coghill

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