New Delhi: COVID-19 infections, led by the Omicron variant, may see a sharp increase in the coming weeks, according to some top experts, who noted that the variant was already spreading in the community and hospitals were seeing an increase in patients despite a decline in cases in major cities. India's health ministry reported 306,064 new infections in the last 24 hours, a decrease of about 8% from the average daily cases reported in the previous four days. There were 439 deaths, the fewest in five days.
However, weekly positivity rates increased to 17.03 percent in the week ending Jan. 24, up from approximately 0.63 percent in the week ending Dec. 27, owing to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. "Omicron has entered community transmission in India and has established a foothold in multiple metropolises," a report released on Sunday by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) stated.
Although the majority of cases of the Omicron variant have been mild, the advisory group noted an increase in hospitalizations and cases requiring intensive care. In the last two weeks, major cities such as the capital Delhi and financial hub Mumbai in Maharashtra's wealthiest state have reported significant drops in cases following peaks.
India's total number of infections reached 39.54 million, ranking second worldwide behind the United States. The virus has claimed 489,848 lives in the country.