Covid-19: India confirms first Omicron-related death as cases jump

The health ministry reported that total Omicron infections had risen to at least 2,135



Reuters file
Reuters file

By Reuters

Published: Wed 5 Jan 2022, 6:20 PM

A diabetic man who died in the western state of Rajasthan was India’s first fatality from the Omicron Covid-19 variant, the health ministry said on Wednesday, adding that overall infections had doubled to 58,097 over the past four days.

The health ministry reported that total Omicron infections had risen to at least 2,135, just over a month since the first case was detected in the country.

Government officials privately say daily cases in the country’s third wave of infections could surpass the record of more than 414,000 hit last May. They also warn that many people are taking the Omicron variant lightly and not wearing masks as most cases have been mild.

Top health official Vinod Kumar Paul declined to estimate a new peak but said even mild cases could put pressure on the country’s health systems.

“There is no room for complacency,” he told a weekly media briefing, adding Omicron was driving surges in the cities. “Don’t take it for granted. We don’t know, the system can get overwhelmed, your household can get overwhelmed.”

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Nevertheless, the government reduced the number of home quarantine days for mild and asymptomatic patients to a week, from 10 or 14 days previously.

Another official at the briefing said the elderly man from Rajasthan, whom he did not identify by name, died of a heart attack a few days ago. Genetic tests later showed he had been infected by the Omicron variant.


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