Five of 7 Omicron patients in Pune test negative for COVID-19: Ajit Pawar

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Five out of seven COVID-19 patients in Pune district, who were earlier detected with Omicron, the new variant of coronavirus, have now tested negative for the infection, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said on Friday.

Four out of six patients from Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial township and a patient from Pune city have tested negative for the viral infection, Pawar told reporters after a weekly review meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the district.

“The health of all seven patients is good. Four out of six Omicron patients in Pimpri-Chinchwad and a patient in Pune city have tested negative,” said Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of the district. These seven persons, including an NRI woman and her two daughters from Nigeria, had tested positive for Omicron in Pune last week. They were admitted for treatment in city-based hospitals and their latest tests came out negative.

The new strain, discovered in Africa last month, has been classified as a ‘variant of concern’ by the WHO. Pawar further said that 100 per cent of the eligible population in the district has been covered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, and over 1.38 crore shots have been administered so far. The pace of vaccination has increased in the district in the last 10 days, the minister said.

“It is true that people were a bit reluctant about taking the second dose, but now after the recent developments (Omicron), the pace of vaccination has increased and queues are being witnessed outside the vaccination centres,” Pawar said, adding the focus needs to be on rural areas.

“Doctors in the (state) task force (on COVID-19) have advised that we have to administer the second dose at the earliest and if we become successful in that, the situation will be good,” he said. The state government has received a list of over 4,500 passengers travelling to Pune district from abroad, Pawar said.

“The search is on for these passengers. Passengers are being contacted, their information related to their health is being recorded,” he said. Currently, the COVID-19 positivity rate in the Pune Municipal Corporation limits and Pune rural is 1.4 per cent, while in the Pimpri-Chinchwad region, it is 0.7 per cent, Pawar added.

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