Two more cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 were detected in Mumbai on Monday, taking the Maharashtra’s tally of infections to 10. With this, the total number of confirmed Omicron cases in India rose to 23.
One of the patients is a 37-year old man who had come to Mumbai from Johannesburg in South Africa on November 25, the Maharashtra Public Health Department said, in a release. The other person, a 36-year-old man, travelled to Mumbai from the United States on the same day. The two persons are friends.
Both the patients are asymptomatic and have been admitted to a hospital in Mumbai. Five “high-risk” and 315 “low-risk” contacts of the two men have been traced. The authorities are still carrying out the contact tracing process.
India’s first two cases of the Omicron variant had been detected in Karnataka on Friday. Since then, cases have been found in Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
So far, nine cases have been detected in Rajasthan capital Jaipur, six cases in Maharashtra’s Pimpri Chinchwad, two in Mumbai and one each in Pune and Kalyan. Two cases have been found in Bengaluru and one each in Delhi and Gujarat’s Jamnagar.
The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa in November, and since then, has spread to many other countries.
According to the World Health Organization, the Omicron variant has about 45-52 mutations with 26-32 mutations in spike proteins. Spike proteins help a virus gain entry into the host cell. So, the higher number of mutations of the Omicron variant help the virus in a faster entry into human cells.
Scientists are studying if the variant has the potential to evade vaccines.