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(IANS)

With new stronger sub-variants of Omicron detected in Maharashtra, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday issued an advisory ahead of Diwali to prevent any spread of COVID-19, including wearing of face masks in public areas.

The state has reported sub-variants like Omicron-Q.1 (US variant), BA.2.3.20, plus XBB, which is a recombinant of BA.2.75 and BJ.1 — all of which have a growth advantage over other Omicron BA.2.75 variants and immunity evading properties.

Given the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases from the second week of October, coupled with the upcoming Diwali season, “this is a critical period as there may be a tendency to abandon COVID-safe behaviour, especially in crowded areas or non-ventilated spaces”, the BMC said.

The BMC Executive Health Officer has stressed the need to adhere to COVID-appropriate behaviour during Diwali. Wearing masks in public or crowded areas, getting vaccinated, maintaining good ventilation indoors, washing hands frequently, avoiding contact with symptomatic patients, using kerchief/tissues while sneezing/coughing, getting tested when symptoms are noticed, and taking proper treatment if found positive, to break the COVID-19 chain in the interest of fellow citizens.

To date, Mumbai has recorded 19,738 deaths due to COVID-19 — just below Pune’s 20,601 fatalities. In terms of total infections till now, Pune has notched 15,03,152 cases, followed by Mumbai with 11,51,782 cases, with a recovery rate of 98.14%.

The state’s COVID-19 figures are 81,28,258 infections and 1,48,374 fatalities to date — the highest in the country — while Mumbai and Pune regions remain among the worst affected.

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The above article has been published from a wire source with minimal modifications to the headline and text.

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