Confirming the state’s worst fears, the first case of the Covid-19 variant Omicron has been detected in Maharashtra after a 33-year-old man — who flew down from South Africa to Mumbai via Dubai and New Delhi — tested positive, an official said here on Saturday.
The passenger who is exhibiting mild symptoms is currently under treatment at a Covid centre in Kalyan-Dombivali.
The infectee reached here from Cape Town on November 24 and then complained of low fever but has not exhibited any other symptoms, said the official.
Moving swiftly, the Thane health authorities launched a drive and traced 12 of his high-risk contacts and 23 low-risk contacts, but all have tested negative.
Another 25 passengers who arrived by the same New Delhi-Mumbai flight on November 24 have also tested negative and more of their contacts are currently being traced, according to the official.
As the state went into a high-alert mode, a 60-year-old male passenger who arrived here from Zambia recently has been detected positive for a sub-lineage of the Covid-19 Delta variant as per a report of the NIV, Pune.
With this, Maharashtra becomes the third state – after Karnataka and Gujarat – to come on the country’s ‘Omicron map’, during this week.
Till Saturday morning, the state health authorities said they have tested 3,839 passengers arriving from the ‘high-risk’ or ‘at risk’ Omicron afflicted nations, landing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA).
Besides, another 344 out of 17,107 passengers arriving to Mumbai from other countries have also been subjected to random testing.
In the past four days (since December 1), 8 passengers have tested positive for Covid-19 and their samples sent for genomic sequencing as a precaution.
Simultaneously, intensive field surveillance of all international passengers who landed at CSMIA Mumbai since November 1 is currently underway.
The state has appealed to all people that all those who have had international travel history in the past one month, or those who have completed their vaccination must get their doses on priority.
Allaying apprehensions, the health department said that genetic changes/mutations in viruses is a natural phenomenon and they should not panic, but strictly follow all Covid appropriate behaviour and adhere to all protocols.
Unwilling to take any risks, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner I.S. Chahal on Saturday clamped stringent home isolation norms for all international passengers from the afflicted countries.