COVID: Two cases of Omicron detected in India, says GoI

A healthcare worker on duty to take samples for COVID. [FPK File Photo]

Karnataka: Two COVID cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in India, the Health Ministry of India said on Thursday.

Both the cases have been reported in Karnataka with the patients being two foreigners aged 66 and 46, the Health Ministry’s Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said.

Agarwal added that the identities of the two patients will not be disclosed for now to protect their privacy.

All people who came in contact with the two men have been traced and are being tested, he said, adding that both the cases are mild and there are no severe symptoms so far.

“There is no need to panic about the Omicron detection but awareness is absolutely essential. Follow Coivd-appropriate behaviour, avoid gatherings,” Agarwal said.

Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said there is “no need to panic” over the detection of Omicron cases. “But awareness is absolutely essential. COVID-apt behaviour is required,” he noted, adding that vaccinated citizens who are yet to take their second dose should opt for timely inoculation.

The two cases in Karnataka, Dr Bhargava further said, were detected “through genome sequencing effort of INSACOG consortium of 37 laboratories established by the Ministry of Health”.

Omicron, technically referred to as COVID variant B.1.1.529, was first detected in South Africa on November 23. It subsequently triggered a global alarm, as scientists pointed that the variant is heavily mutated.

The World Health Organisation had, on November 26, categorised Omicron as a “variant of concern”.


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