Nine more cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus were detected in Kerala on Wednesday, December 22, taking the tally to 24, state Health Minister Veena George said. Six people who reached Ernakulam and three who reached Thiruvananthapuram have been detected with the variant, the minister said.
Two from the UK, aged 18 and 47 years, a 43-year-old woman and a 11-year-old from Tanzania, a woman aged 44 from Ghana and a 26-year-old woman from Ireland are those found infected in Ernakulam. A couple aged 54 and 52 from Nigeria and a woman aged 51 from the UK were confirmed with the infection in Thiruvananthapuram.
"All those from Ernakulam reached the state on December 18 and 19 and tested positive on arrival. They don't have any other contacts as they were admitted to hospital from the airport itself. Meanwhile, the couple in Thiruvananthapuram reached the state on December 10 and their test on December 17 turned positive. Their daughters are in their contact list. The woman from the UK in Thiruvananthapuram was found positive on arrival," the minister said. The new variant was confirmed in the testing conducted at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in Thiruvananthapuram.
The state had detected its first Omicron case on December 12 in Ernakulam district when a person who had returned from the UK tested positive.
Before this, on December 20, four cases of the Omicron variant were detected from Kerala, which took the tally at the time to 15. Two cases of the variant were detected in patients aged 41 and 67, the mother and grandmother of a 17-year-old patient in Thiruvananthapuram, who came from the UK on December 9. Two other cases of the Omicron variant were also detected from Thiruvananthapuram, in a 32-year old man who came from Nigeria on December 17 and a 27-year-old woman who was in the contact list of a flight passenger.
As of December 22, India has recorded close to 250 cases of Omicron across 15 states and union territories, and at least 90 of the infected people had either recovered or migrated. Amid fresh concerns caused by the Omicron variant, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the country on Thursday, December 23.