Here are the latest updates about the new coronavirus variant.

  1. Maharashtra on Monday reported two more cases of the Omicron variant, taking the state’s tally to 20, PTI reported. Out of the two new fresh cases, one was detected in Latur district and the other in Pune district.
  2. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday directed authorities to identify Covid-19 clusters and increase genome sequencing there, PTI reported. This comes a day after the state reported its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Vijayan added that all 36 persons who came in close contact with the patient who tested positive for Omicron in Ernakulam were in isolation.
  3. The Covid-19 vaccination booster shots can wait, said Dr Samiran Panda, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases, Indian Council of Medical Research on Sunday, The Hindu reported. He said that the current focus should be to fully vaccinate 80% of the eligible population.
  4. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has announced aggressive measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in Dharavi – Asia’s largest slum, The Indian Express reported. The move comes after a 49-year-old man from Dharavi had tested positive for Omicron variant of coronavirus on Friday. The measures will include cleaning of toilets five times a day and door-to-door testing.
  5. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his government was ready to tackle the Omicron infection and would impose strict restrictions if needed, reported ANI. He said a decision to reopen schools would be taken after the winter holidays end. 
  6. Assam’s Regional Medical Research Centre has created a kit that can detect the new Omicron variant in two hours. The kit is being produced in bulk by a Kolkata-based company, GCC biotech on a public-private partnership model.
  7. China on Monday registered its first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, AFP reported. The patient had entered the country from an undisclosed location abroad. The person is undergoing treatment in isolation at a hospital.
  8. Israel on Sunday put the United Kingdom and Denmark on its “red list”, banning passengers coming from these countries, Reuters reported. The country has 50 African countries in the “red list”.
  9. South Africa has entered its fourth wave of pandemic as the country saw a surge in cases after the discovery of the Omicron variant in November, the Hindustan Times reported. On Sunday, it recorded 37,975 cases. Country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was one of the people who tested positive for the virus on Sunday, his office said.
  10. United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said that at least one person infected with the Omicron variant has died in the country, reported Sky News. Johnson on Sunday set a target of giving booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine to everyone above the age of 18 by the end of December as a “tidal wave” of Omicron was looming, AFP reported. In a televised address, the prime minister said that two vaccine doses will not be enough to contain it. His comments came hours after the UK’s coronavirus alert level was raised to four due to the spread of the new strain. Level four indicates a high or rising level of transmission.