The Centre on Friday cautioned citizens against lowering their guard against the coronavirus, pointing out that the world was witnessing a fresh surge in infections amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

At a press conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the Omicron strain was likely to spread faster than the Delta variant of the disease. However, Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava added that the Delta variant was still the predominant strain of coronavirus countries, including in recently identified clusters.

Bhushan said that India has so far recorded 358 Omicron cases across 17 states and Union Territories.

The majority of Omicron infections have been reported from Maharashtra (88), Delhi (67), Telangana (38), Tamil Nadu (34), Karnataka (31), Gujarat (30), Kerala (27), Rajasthan (22), according to the Centre’s data. Of these, 114 patients have recovered.

The health secretary added that 183 Omicron cases have been analysed and 121 of those patients had foreign travel history. He said that 91% of all Omicron patients in India were fully vaccinated and three of them had received booster shots. The data also showed that 70% Omicron patients were asymptomatic.


Citing data from the World Health Organization, Bhushan said that number of Omicron cases were doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission. The official stressed that people must follow Covid appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated.

The Centre also flagged that the positivity rate in Kerala and Mizoram being higher than the national average was a cause for concern.