Covid-19 cases continued to rise sharply in Mumbai on Friday, with the city reporting 5,428 new cases in the past 24 hours.

The new cases on Friday were 47.86% higher than Thursday’s figure of 3,671 cases.

Maharashtra reported 8,067 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, which constituted a rise of 50.27% from Thursday’s figure of 5,368 infections.

The state reported eight more fatalities due to the disease, and the case fatality ratio is currently 2.11%. The districts of Mumbai, Ahmednagar, Solapur and Beed reported one death each. Pune city and Pune Rural district reported two deaths each.

Maharashtra detected four more cases of the Omicron variant on Friday, taking the total number of such infections to 454 in the state. One case each was reported from Vasai-Virar, Navi Mumbai, Mira Bhayandar and Panvel – all of them being cities within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

The state currently has 24,509 active cases, out of which 16,441 are in Mumbai alone.

Mumbai’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, said on Friday that 55% of coronavirus cases sequenced at the city’s Kasturba laboratory had the Omicron variant. This includes both samples taken from international travellers and from the community.

Among samples taken from the community, 37.6% showed the presence of the Omicron variant.

Don’t take Omicron lightly, state official tells authorities

Meanwhile, a senior Maharashtra health official on Friday wrote to local authorities urging them not to take the Omicron variant of Covid-19 lightly in the belief that it causes mild disease.

Pradeep Vyas, the additional chief secretary in the Maharashtra health department, also said that based on current trends, the state may have about 2 lakh active coronavirus cases by the third week of January 2022.

Vyas wrote the letter to divisional commissioners, district collectors, municipal commissioners and zilla parishad chief executive officers in the state.

Till Friday morning, Maharashtra has reported the most cases of the Omicron variant in the country, according to the Union health ministry’s data.

In this context, the additional chief secretary urged local authorities not to be “complacent based on social media/print/electronic media reports suggesting that Omicron variant causes mild disease”. He stressed on the need to “think rationally and scientifically”.

“There are studies to show that Covid disease even in present wave has been severe in unvaccinated persons, Vyas said. “Remember hospitalisations of pediatric patients is at peak in USA, a subgroup which never had Covid vaccine cover.”

The official said that even if one presumes a fatality rate of 1%, the state may still have 80,000 deaths if there are 80 lakh coronavirus cases in the third wave.

Vyas, meanwhile, said that results of whole genome sequencing show that 70% of Covid-19 cases are of the Delta variant currently.