India's Omicron cases hit 150, here's list of worst-affected states

The country's Omicron count crossed 150 after Maharashtra and Gujarat reported ten fresh infections of the new COVID-19 variant. 

India's Omicron cases hit 150, here's list of worst-affected states Representational Image (Reuters)

New Delhi: Omicron is 'raging through the world' with India reporting its 150th case of the new COVID-19 variant on Sunday (December 19, 2021). The country's Omicron count has now increased to 153 after Maharashtra and Gujarat added ten more infections. 

While six persons tested positive for the highly mutated version of coronavirus in Maharashtra, four were found infected in Gujarat.

India has so far detected Omicron cases in 11 states and union territories namely Maharashtra (54), Delhi (22), Rajasthan (17) and Karnataka (14), Telangana (20), Gujarat (11), Kerala (11), Andhra Pradesh (1), Chandigarh (1), Tamil Nadu (1) and West Bengal (1).

The country's first two cases were detected in Karnataka on December 2.

Omicron has spread to 89 countries

Omicron was first reported in South Africa on November 24 and was classified as a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 26. This variant, which is currently wreaking havoc in the United States and several European nations, has so far been detected in as many as 89 countries.

The WHO on Saturday had said that the number of Omicron cases is doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission and noted that much remains unknown about the variant, including the severity of the illness it causes.

Lockdown, other curbs in several countries

In an attempt to control the spread, the Netherlands has already gone into lockdown on Sunday, while several other European governments are considering additional curbs.

In the United States, White House medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci has urged people travelling to visit loved ones to get booster shots and always wear masks in crowded public spaces.

He said that Omicron was 'raging through the world' and that travelling will increase the risk of infection even among vaccinated people. 

ALSO READ | From runny nose to itchy throat and headache, check symptoms of Omicron

In the UK, Sajid Javid, the health minister, declined to rule out the chance that Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s government will impose further restrictions before Christmas. He said that the government was taking the "sobering" advice of its scientists seriously, was watching the data closely, and would balance both against the broader impact of restrictions on areas such as businesses and education.

Overall COVID-19 infections rising again

According to reports, overall COVID-19 infections are rising in as many as 64 countries and territories, with 12 of them recording more cases than at any point during the pandemic, including the United Kingdom.

As per Johns Hopkins University's data, the world has so far witnessed more than 27 crore COVID-19 infections and over 53 lakh related fatalities. 

The development comes amid disease experts across the world predicting that countries would begin to emerge from the pandemic next year after going through a series of surges driven by the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants of COVID-19. However, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has now undermined that hope.

Meanwhile, some experts have said that living with COVID-19 in 2022 will likely mean assessing local risks and protecting oneself through vaccination, masking and social distancing.

ALSO READ | COVID-19 could become endemic by 2024, predicts Pfizer amid Omicron scare

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