New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The government on Saturday expressed concern over rising COVID-19 cases in five states amid the detection of Omicron strain. These five states are Odisha, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan directed the five states and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to increase the surveillance of foreign arrivals while ensuring adequate genome sequencing.

Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district reported a massive 727 per cent increase in new cases between November 26 and December 2, as compared to a week earlier.

At the same time Karnataka's Tumkur district cases spiked by 152 per cent, and three Tamil Nadu districts also reported a significant rise in new cases.

Surges in COVID-19 cases were reported in four Mizoram districts, the government said.

COVID-related mortality worrying in Kerala: Govt

The government expressed concerns over COVID-related mortality figures in Kerala.

India on Saturday confirmed its fourth Omicron case, in addition to a 72-year-old Gujarat man returning from Zimbabwe, and two Omicron strain’s COVID-19 cases in Bangalore.

"We have isolated him and are monitoring. A micro containment zone has been made. We will do tracing, testing of people," Manoj Aggarwal, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Gujarat, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

First reported from South Africa last week, the Omicron variant is reported to have 50 mutations, including over 30 mutations on the key spike protein.

The government said that it is expecting the severity of the Omicron variant of coronavirus to be low in the country given the scale of vaccination and high exposure to the Delta variant. Speaking in the Parliament, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday highlighted that a decision on booster dose and Covid jabs for children will be taken on the basis of scientific guidance from experts.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma