After a lot of confusion over first case of Omicron’s sub-variant XE in India, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that 67-year-old Mumbai man has been tested positive with the variant, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is 10 times more transmissible than Omicron. But the good thing is that the man is not totally stable and asymptomatic.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that Omicron sub-variant XE is not lethal.
Talking to media persons in Jalna, Tope said a 67-year-old man and his wife who had been in Mumbai tested positive for coronavirus in Gujarat last month.
“The man had arrived from London on March 6 and came in contact with two Britishers. On March 11, he experienced a mild fever. On March 12, he was tested during his stay in Vadodara and the sample was sent for genome sequencing to the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre,” Tope said.
The health minister further said that the elderly man developed a fever on March 13 and returned to Mumbai the following day.
Tope said three other persons in Gujarat who came in contact with the infected man were tested but they were found negative and without the (XE) sub-variant.
“The man has been in quarantine at his home in Mumbai since March 20. He is asymptomatic. He had taken two doses (of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine). He is suffering from hypertension. There is no worry about the new variant, it is not lethal,” he added.
According to Gujarat government officials, the man was found infected with the XE variant as per a report given by a Gandhinagar-based laboratory, which was cross-checked and confirmed by a facility in Kolkata on Friday.
Responding to a query for the booster dose for adults in the age group of 15 to 59 years, Tope said the booster dose is not needed for this age category.
“But those who want to take the booster dose can take it from private hospitals. The government has no responsibility regarding the administration of the booster dose to people in the 15 to 59 age group,” he added.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that XE could be more transmissible than any COVID-19 strain so far. XE is a combination or a recombinant of both sub-variants (BA.1 and BA.2) of Omicron.