Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh reported their first cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on Sunday. Eight cases were confirmed in Madhya Pradesh, out of which three had returned from the United States, two from the United Kingdom and Tanzania each and one from Ghana. In Himachal Pradesh, one out of the nine samples sent for genome sequencing tested positive for the variant. The woman had recently returned from Canada, according to an NDTV report.

Genome sequencing reports of two of her contacts, who have tested negative, are still awaited.

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Six out of the eight people in Madhya Pradesh, and the single case in Himachal Pradesh, have all tested negative and been discharged from hospitals. The remaining two are asymptomatic and under treatment.  

The Madhya Pradesh government had, on Thursday, imposed a precautionary night curfew in the state from 11 pm to 5 am as a precautionary measure amid growing concern over the new coronavirus variant omicron, even though no Omicron cases had been reported in the state by then.

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Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said, “In view of the rapid spread of the Omicron virus in the world, it is the right time for all to remain alert on the issue. The Centre has also issued guidelines to follow social distancing, use face masks and avoid crowded places. We have also decided to impose a night curfew from tonight (Thursday) in the entire state from 11 pm to 5 am and will take some more measures if required to deal with the situation.

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At least 422 Omicron cases have been detected across 17 states and union territories in India so far, the highest being in Maharashtra, the health ministry informed on Sunday. 

The country’s total cases increased to 3,47,86,802, and the death toll has risen to 4,79,682. 

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, several states have imposed restrictions ahead of Christmas and the New Year, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat.