(Reuters) – AHMEDABAD (Reuters) – On Saturday, India reported its third case of the Omicron coronavirus strain, bringing the overall number of Covid-19 infections to 35 million.

According to officials in the western state of Gujarat, the patient who tested positive for Omicron was a 72-year-old Indian man who had resided in Zimbabwe for decades before returning on Nov. 28.

On Saturday, India reported 8,603 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 34.62 million. The number of deaths increased by 415 to 470,530.

After the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the new variety “of concern,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed authorities to focus on nations listed as at danger last month.

According to the WHO, Omicron, which was discovered in South Africa, may spread faster than previous strains of the virus.

Due to growing vaccination rates and substantial past exposure to the Delta version, which infected almost 70% of the population by July, India anticipates the Omicron form to cause less severe sickness.

The federal health ministry announced on Thursday that India has found two male patients, aged 66 and 46, in the southern state of Karnataka who carried the new strain. The first individual was a South African native, while the second, an Indian physician, had no recent travel history.

Despite having abundant supplies of domestically manufactured vaccines, India, which had a record rise in illnesses and fatalities owing to the Delta type in April and May, has only properly immunised half of its 944 million people.

Up to 84 percent have got at least one treatment, with more than 125 million individuals scheduled to receive a second dose.

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