Three people had returned from the United States, two each from the United Kingdom and Tanzania, and one from Ghana out of the eight cases in Madhya Pradesh. Six have been tested negative and discharged from hospitals, whereas the remaining two are both asymptomatic and receiving treatment.
18 more tested positive for other strains of COVID-19 apart from the eight Omicron cases.
A woman who returned from Canada tested positive in Himachal Pradesh. Yesterday she returned a negative RT-PCR test and her three contacts are also negative for Covid. However, results from either sample are awaited.
There were 422 Omicron cases in India as informed by the government this morning. This did not include cases from Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, which become the 18th and 19th states to do so.
Maharashtra has 108, followed by Delhi with 79.
Gujarat which is due to hold Assembly elections in two months has 43 cases. Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu have 144 between them. Uttar Pradesh, which is also due to hold elections in two months, has two.
The Omicron strain is more infectious than the Delta variant and possibly more resistant to vaccines. The government last night authorized "precaution doses" for healthcare and frontline workers, as well as those over 60 years of age.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "The government has decided that precaution doses of the Covid vaccine will be started for healthcare and frontline workers from January 10, 2022."
The government said it would send teams of medical experts to 10 states on Saturday "which are either reporting increasing Omicron and COVID-19 cases or slow vaccination pace".
On that list are UP and Punjab and both the states are due to hold elections in February-March.
With memories of the surge in cases after rallies in Bengal and other states earlier in the year, the Allahabad High Court asked the Election Commission to consider deferring polls.
The Omicron variant which has spread across the world at frightening speeds was first detected in South Africa and is and is now present in over 100 countries, including Himachal and Madhya Pradesh.
Several nations have quickly rolled out booster doses to protect their populations. Others have re-imposed travel restrictions to contain the variant, including India.