Maharashtra's first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, a 33-year-old marine engineer, has tested negative for the virus, news agency PTI reported today. The man, a resident of the Kalyan-Dombivli municipal area near Mumbai, was unvaccinated and had arrived at the Delhi airport from South Africa via Dubai before flying to Mumbai in the last week of November. He was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday and advised to remain in home quarantine for seven days, a civic official said.
The man reportedly tried to get vaccinated but was unable to as he was working on a private merchant navy ship and had left the country at the peak of the pandemic in April this year. Vaccine doses were available only for healthcare and frontline workers at that time.
The Maharashtra health authorities had then sent his swab samples for genome sequencing and the test report later confirmed that he was carrying the Omicron strain.
He had been admitted to a COVID Care Centre in Kalyan town, from where he was discharged at 6 pm on Wednesday, Commissioner of the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) Dr Vijay Suryavanshi told reporters. "Incidentally, it was his birthday today," the Commissioner added.
"He was discharged as he tested negative for the infection. As per the standard protocol, his two RT-PCR tests were conducted and both came out negative. He is perfectly all right now and there are no symptoms," he said
Maharashtra has so far reported 10 cases of the Omicron variant.
Maharashtra has issued strict guidelines for international travelers, particularly from "at-risk" countries. State Minister Aaditya Thackeray has also urged the Centre to allow booster shots, reduce the vaccine gap and bring down the cut-off age for inoculations to 15.
The state government has said that Mumbai has covered 100 per cent of those eligible with the first vaccine shot and more than 73 per cent have received the second.
Amid the virus scare, 109 out of 295 recent foreign returnees to the township in the Thane district of the state were reported untraceable on Tuesday. Mr Suryavanshi had said the mobile phones of some of these people were switched off while many of the last given addresses were found to be locked.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope had recently said that restrictions on activities like during the second wave will be "too inconvenient" for the people and added that a final call will be taken following the guidance of the Centre and state Covid task force and based on the views of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.