The Omicron variant has been detected in more than one-third of Covid-19 samples randomly collected from residents in Mumbai and sequenced by a municipal laboratory, the city’s civic body officials said on Thursday.

Of the 375 samples collected between December 21 and 22, genome sequencing by the Kasturba laboratory found that 141 had been infected with the Omicron variant. None of these cases had any history of travel.

There are 89 men and 52 women among the cases infected with the Omicron variant. Together, they account for 37.6% of samples sequenced from the community.

“This shows Omicron is spreading at the community level,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.

Deputy Executive Health officer Santosh Revankar said that out of 141 individuals who tested positive for Omicron, 93 are fully vaccinated, and three had taken one dose of the vaccine.

Seven remain moderately ill and hospitalised, the rest are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

Cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in India rose from 781 to 961 on Thursday, the health ministry said. The strain was first reported in the country on December 2 and has now spread to 22 states and Union Territories.

Mumbai on Thursday recorded 3,671 new cases in the last 24 hours, which constituted a rise of 46.25% over the previous day’s figure of 2,510. The city has 11,360 Covid-19 patients who are being treated as of Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra reported 5,368 new Covid-19 cases and 22 fatalities in a single day. There are 18,217 active cases in the state.

Covid-19 cases have increased sharply in Mumbai in the past week.

On Wednesday, Mumbai reported an 82.2% jump from the previous day’s count of 1,377 cases. To tackle the rising cases, the Mumbai Police on Thursday issued an order banning new year parties in the open and closed spaces till January 7.

The order has been issued under Section 144 (banning gatherings of four or more persons) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The police have also said that legal action would be taken against persons who violate orders prohibiting new year celebrations.

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