India’s cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant rose to 653 on Tuesday morning, data from the health ministry showed.

The highest number of Omicron infections have been reported from Maharashtra (167), followed by Delhi (165), Kerala (57), Telangana (55), Gujarat (49).

The health ministry said 186 out of the 653 people who caught the infection have recovered or “migrated”.

Overall, India reported 6,358 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, taking the country’s tally since the pandemic began last year to 3,47,99,691. The toll jumped to 4,80,290 with 293 fatalities. The daily infections have been below 15,000 for the last 61 days now, according to PTI.

The active caseload declined by 385, taking the total count to 75,456.

Breakup of the Omicron cases in India.

With Omicron cases rising, the Centre on Monday asked states and Union Territories to take necessary precautions. “States may consider imposing need based local curbs/restrictions, to control the crowd during the festive season,” Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said in a letter.

The government added that states could consider imposing prohibitory restrictions under Section 144 to ensure that physical distancing and Covid-appropriate norms are being followed.

In another statement, the Centre also asked states where elections are due to ramp up vaccination. “District-wise weekly vaccination implementation plans are required to be drawn up for this purpose,” the government said. “The state authorities were advised to review the implementation status on a daily basis.”

Meanwhile, as India prepares to administer coronavirus vaccines to children in the age group of 15-18 years from January 3, the government on Monday announced that only Covaxin doses will be given to the eligible recipients. Children can register for vaccination on the CoWIN portal from January 1.