Three deaths from the Delta Plus Covid variant have been reported from Maharashtra, including one in Mumbai, at a time the state is trying to ease tough restrictions in place for months. A 63-year-old woman who died on July 27 is reported to be Mumbai's first Delta Plus death.
A 69-year-old man has also died in Raigad from the strain. An 80-year-old woman from Ratnagiri died last month.
The Mumbai woman, who tested positive on July 21, had several comorbidities including diabetes, according to officials. She was fully vaccinated and among seven patients in the city whose reports turned out positive for the Delta Plus, a mutation of the highly contagious Delta variant that drove the deadly second wave of Covid in April-May.
The results of genome sequencing from the woman's samples arrived on Wednesday.
Mumbai's civic body BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) started contacting the seven patients after receiving the results from the state health department.
Two of her close contacts have also tested positive for the Delta Plus. She didn't have any travel history.
The woman was on oxygen support and was administered steroids and Remdesivir, according to officials.
Along with seven samples from Mumbai, 13 more have tested positive for the Delta Plus variant across Maharashtra, according to the state government. Three cases are in Pune, two each in Nanded, Gondia, Raigad and Palghar, and one each in Chandrapur and Akola.
With this, the number of Delta Plus patients has increased to 65.
The mutant Covid strain was also found in seven children and eight senior citizens. Maharashtra health department officials are trying to trace people who have recently come into contact with the infected patients.
On Wednesday, the central government said the Delta Plus has been detected in 86 cases across the country but there is no "exponential surge" so far.
The most were detected in Maharashtra, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Sujit Singh, the chief of the National Centre for Disease Control, told reporters at the Union Health Ministry briefing.
"This variant, through its transmission, has not led to any major exponential surge," Mr Singh said.
The Delta variant, first detected in India, drove the deadly second wave of the coronavirus in April-May that overwhelmed the country's health infrastructure and left thousands desperate for hospital beds, oxygen, medicines and vaccine.