This Article is From Dec 02, 2021

India's First 2 Omicron Cases In Karnataka, One Is Foreigner

All people who came in contact with the two patients have been traced and are being tested, the Health Ministry said.

Omicron variant: Both men tested positive for COVID-19 late last month.


Two COVID-19 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in India, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, making it the 30th country in the world to report the coronavirus strain that has triggered global alarm.

Both the cases have been reported in Karnataka with the patients being two men aged 66 and 46, the Health Ministry's Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal told a news briefing, adding that their identities will not be disclosed for now to protect their privacy.

According to sources, while the 66-year-old is a foreigner with a history of travel to South Africa, the 46-year-old is a health worker in Bengaluru. The first patient left India seven days after his results came back positive.

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.

"We need not panic about Omicron detection but awareness is absolutely essential. Follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and avoid gatherings," Mr Agarwal said.

Dr VK Paul, chief of the centre's COVID-19 task force, said, "There will be no drastic curbs any time soon. The situation is well under control."

Early indications have suggested the heavily-mutated Omicron may be markedly more contagious than previous variants, however, there has been no evidence of the strain any deadlier.

"It is too early to assess whether Omicron causes more severe infection or less compared to other variants, including Delta," Mr Agarwal said.

First discovered in southern Africa, Omicron represents a fresh challenge to global efforts to battle the pandemic with several nations already re-imposing restrictions many had hoped were a thing of the past.

It is the latest coronavirus strain to emerge since the start of the pandemic, including the currently dominant Delta variant, which was first detected in India in October 2020.

India was set to restart scheduled commercial international flights on December 15, but on Wednesday scrapped that plan and said a resumption date would be announced in due course.

The government has advised states to ramp up testing, a week after the health ministry said a recent fall in testing could undermine India's efforts to contain the pandemic.

After battling a record jump in infections and deaths in April and May, coronavirus cases have come down substantially in India.

The country reported 9,765 new cases on Thursday, taking its total to 34.61 million. Only the United States has reported more.