“It is likely that the spread of Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where community transmission occurs,” the government said.

Two health workers in white PPE suits helping each other don the suitsImage for representation | PTI
news Omicron Friday, December 17, 2021 - 17:52

As many as 101 positive cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been detected across 11 states and union territories so far, the Union government said on Friday, December 17. Giving details of Omicron cases in India, it said Maharashtra has reported the highest number so far with 32 cases, followed by Delhi (22), Rajasthan (17), Karnataka (8), Telangana (8), Gujarat (5), Kerala (5), Andhra Pradesh (1), Chandigarh (1), Tamil Nadu (1) and West Bengal (1), the government said.

Citing the World Health Organisation (WHO), it also said that the Omicron variant is spreading faster than the Delta variant of the coronavirus in South Africa, where Delta circulation was low. “It is likely that Omicron spread will outpace Delta variant where community transmission occurs,” the government said.

On the COVID-19 situation in the country, it said 19 districts are reporting weekly positivity rates between 5% and 10%, and five districts over 10%. In light of this, the government has advised people to keep New Year’s celebrations at low intensity. It said that though daily COVID-19 cases have been below 10,000 for the past 20 days, there is a need to stay vigilant in view of the new variant and rising cases in other countries.

“With the coronavirus' Omicron variant spreading very fast across Europe and other parts of the world, people need to avoid non-essential travel. They must also avoid mass gatherings, and New Year’s celebrations need to be at low intensity,” the government said.

Districts with over 5% COVID-19 test positivity rate need to ensure restrictive measures until it is below 5% for at least two weeks, the government said. It also assured that sufficient systematic and strategic sampling is being undertaken for genome sequencing for the detection of Omicron cases in India.

On the COVID-19 vaccination rate, the government said that India has so far administered 82.8 crore first doses and 53.72 crore second doses.

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